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Ponies gallop past Sugarbeeters


It wasn't so much an imposition of will, rather an imposition of style of play.

The Havre High boys basketball team forced the Chinook Sugarbeeters into a flurry of missed shots, a frenzy of turnovers and fast-paced style of play in an 87-32 trouncing Tuesday night at the Havre High gymnasium.

An undermanned and inexperienced Beeter squad, which was already without the services of senior post player Marcus Birky, out with anterior cruciate and medial cruciate ligament tears, succumbed to Havre's mixture of full-court pressure and half-court traps early on.

Chinook turned the ball over on six of its first eight possessions as Havre rolled to a 16-2 lead in the first three minutes of the game, punctuated by a Cory Brothers dunk.

The Blue Pony defense blew up the Beeters' plan to slow the game way down with a modified four corners offensive look. When Chinook did get it across half court, the Beeters ran into double teams in the corners and along the baseline.

"We knew that they were going to come out and be real patient offensively," said Havre High head coach Mark West. "We went to the full-court pressure and half-court traps to get the tempo speeded up."

Not only did the defensive pressure cause Chinook headaches, it also sparked the notoriously slow-starting Ponies on offense.

"The full-court pressure really seems to get us going offensively," West said. "It gets our intensity going right away. The kids really like to play that style of basketball."

Despite taking a 20-6 first-quarter lead, Havre showed no signs of letting up in the second quarter. The Ponies continued to crank up the defensive pressure, forcing Chinook into more turnovers, which led to more easy baskets.

Havre opened the quarter with a pretty alley-oop dunk from Brothers to key a 10-0 run. Chinook finally answered the Pony run with a basket inside from Nate Ranstrom almost six minutes into the quarter. It would be the only basket the Beeters would manage in the period.

"We had quite a few young kids out there," said Chinook head coach Scott Friede. "You just can't turn the ball over that many times when you're trying to run that type of offense. It just isn't going to work. Give Havre credit. They really did a nice job of forcing their tempo on us."

The Ponies immediately answered Chinook's lone field goal with a three-pointer from Jeremy Giardina and a pair of three-point plays from Tyler Hedalen to close out the first half with a 39-8 lead.

In the second half, Chinook scrapped the four-corners look and went back to a more attacking style. The Beeters responded by scoring 14 points in the third quarter, Ranstrom, Dillon Davies, Adam Hayes, Levi Blankenship picked up buckets.

"We just felt like we needed to get something, anything going offensively," Friede said.

Still, Havre's offense showed no signs of slowing down. The Ponies scored 23 points in the quarter as Hedalen continued to have his way inside and Giardina and Patch Wirtzberger knocked down three-pointers in the quarter.

West went to his bench in the fourth quarter, but little changed. Havre continued to play unselfishly, picking apart the Chinook defense.

"We played really unselfishly and did a nice job of passing the basketball," West said. "I really liked the fact that we didn't just come down and fire up the first open shot we had."

Although, he didn't have the official stats, West believed it was the most assists his team had notched in a game this season, which is a credit to his players unselfishness.

"We're really sharing the basketball," West said. "The kids made some great passes to get some easy baskets. I think our passing has gotten better with every game we played."

While Havre's offense seems to be gaining in consistency, Friede and the Beeters are still trying to adjust to life without Birky.

"He's done for the season," Friede said. "It's been a big adjustment for us because he was a force inside, especially rebounding and playing defense."

All of 10 Havre's players scored in the game, led by Brothers with a game-high 18 points. After struggling with his shooting touch earlier in the season, West believes that Brothers has broken out of his shooting funk.

"Cory is really starting to shoot the ball well," West said. "The big thing for him is being balanced and staying relaxed. I think he might have put a little too much pressure on himself early in the season."

Also scoring in double figures was Hedalen with 15 points, including a 5-5 performance from the free-throw line. Wirtzberger and Giardina also had solid games, coming off the bench. Wirtzberger scored 12 points, including a pair of three-pointers, while Giardina added 11 points, including three three-pointers.

Chinook was led Davies' eight points while Ranstrom and Adam Hayes scored six points each.

Havre improves to 10-5 on the season and will host Central A rival Browning on Friday and travel to Malta on Saturday.

Chinook falls to 1-14 on the season and will face Glasgow on Saturday night.

Havre 87, Chinook 32

Chinook 6 2 14 10 - 32

Havre 20 19 23 25 - 87

Chinook - Nate Ranstrom 3 0-0 6, Marty Birky 2 0-1 4, Dillon Davies 3 2-4 8, Adam Hayes 3 0-2 6, Kelan Broadhead 1 0-0 2, Levi Blankenship 1 0-0 2, Jordan Lybeck 1 2-2 4. Totals: 14 4-9 32..

Havre - Patch Wirtzberger 4 2-2 12, Marc Mariani 3 1-3 7, Trent Normandy 1 0-0 2, Cory Brothers 8 0-1 18, Gary Wagner 2 0-0 5, Jeremy Giardina 4 0-1 11, Tyler Hedalen 5 5-5 15, Bret Magelssen 3 0-0 6, Jared Weigel 1 2-4 4, Tyson Parman 3 1-3 7. Totals: 34 11-19 87.

Three-point goals - Wirtzberger 2, Brothers 2, Giardina 3, Wagner 1. Total Fouls - CHI 16, HAV 16. Fouled out - Broadhead.


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