By Tiffany L. Rehbein
Note to Tiffany Shrauger: Its OK not to hit three 3-pointers and lead the Blue Ponies scoring attack. Even when Shrauger scores 10 points, the Ponies can still win.
Havre (5-1) downed Class AA Great Falls High 55-46 Saturday at the Blue Pony Corral.
Junior Alyssa Matter led the Blue Ponies with a season-high 23 points and 11 rebounds in the win. Four of those boards were on the offensive end and resulted in put-back points for the Ponies.
Alyssa was very impressive tonight, said head coach Dennis Murphy. She just flat blew by those girls. She was so aggressive going to the hole tonight.
The game opened in front of a nearly-packed house with the Blue Ponies up 14-11 after one quarter.
There was a good crowd tonight, Murphy said. It was a good size and they were very active and we really appreciate that. The support theyve given us this season has been great.
I think that we came out and played extremely hard, Murphy continued. We were getting up and down both teams it seemed fast to me.
Sophomore Jeri Matter nailed a 3-pointer to spark the Ponies scoring drive in the first quarter. Matter finished with seven points and six rebounds in the victory.
Early, both teams were playing a perimeter ball game.
I think that both teams had a lot of open looks early, Murphy said. We were running hard, scrambling. But neither team was shooting the ball very well.
Junior Aimee Montes and sophomore Megan Schmitz shared the Bison scoring responsibility in the first quarter. Montes, a transfer from Box Elder, finished with nine points while Schmitz led the Bison with 17.
In the second quarter, the Bison outscored the Blue Ponies 14-10 and narrowed their halftime deficit to two points, 24-22, going into the locker room.
Alyssa Matter opened the second quarter with two points for Havre and continued to be unstoppable driving to the hoop.
Sophomore Amy Ranes started the quarter and tallied two points, one board and one steal in the quest. Senior Erin Patera had four points and three rebounds in the quarter and finished with seven points in the game.
The Bison, behind an aggressive full-court press, held the Ponies silent for nearly five minutes of play until junior Nikki Baltrusch fed Patera inside who scored with 11 seconds remaining in the half. The bucket broke a 22-22 tie and lifted the Ponies by two going into halftime.
And Shrauger? She had not scored a point yet.
Im feeling pretty good when Shrauger hasnt scored yet, Murphy said. Were up two and our leading scorer hasnt made a point yet. Im feeling pretty good about that.
Shrauger tallied three boards, went 3-for-6 from the foul line, hitting the crucial shots with little more than one minute remaining in the game, and still finished in double figures.
With two seconds remaining in the third quarter, Shrauger nailed her first 3-pointer of the game and pulled the Ponies to within one point going into the final eight minutes of play.
Thats good momentum for us going into the fourth quarter when she hits that three, Murphy said.
The back-and-forth fourth quarter was sealed from the free throw line. The Ponies hit 7-of-12 free shots in the final quarter, five of which, by Baltrusch, Shrauger and Alyssa Matter, were made with little more than one minute remaining.
In the final two minutes of play, with the Ponies up 48-46, Jeri Matter got fouled inside and missed the free throw only to have Patera grab the offensive board and notch the put-back points.
Down court, after Montes missed a 3-point attempt for the Bison, Jeri Matter tore down the board and Shrauger got fouled after the outlet pass. She made one free throw and lifted the Ponies 51-46.
With 40 seconds remaining, Baltrusch canned two free shots and expanded the Havre lead to six points. With 20 seconds on the clock, Jeri Matter collected a key steal inside and Shrauger went to the line again and knocked down two more free shots to sew up the victory.
The good thing was when somebody was down, somebody else was there and stepped up, Murphy said.
Somebody came through and it was a different person each time down the floor.
The Ponies will face two undefeated teams this weekend when it travels to Browning Friday and then meets Malta at home Saturday.
Lewistown Jamie Slagel, 3 2-4 10; Kristin Hagen, 1 2-2 4; Amanda Bakkedahl, 3 0-0 6; Cassie Chapman, 4 6-11 14; Sarah Wilber, 2 0-1 4; Lindsay Garcia, 1 0-0 2; Total: 40
Havre Nikki Baltrusch, 1 4-7 6; Tiffany Shrauger, 7 2-3 20; Alyssa Matter, 6 5-8 19; Erin Patera, 0 1-2 1; Jeri Matter, 4 0-1 3; Amy Ranes, 0 2-2 2; Total: 53
Total fouls: Lewistown, 19, Havre, 16; Fouled out: Slagel, McPherson; Three-pointers: Lewistown, Slagel, ; Havre, 6, Shrauger, 4, A. Matter, 2.