Bigfork, Stevensville fall in opening round

Bigfork, Stevensville fall in opening round

State Class A girls' basketball tournament

BILLINGS - Havre's offense and Miles City's defense were bad news for a pair of Western A teams Thursday afternoon in the opening session of the state Class A girls' basketball tournament.

Loree Payne, Havre's all-everything guard, didn't shoot particularly well yet still scored 35 points as the No. 2-ranked Blue Ponies whipped No. 4 Bigfork 71-42 in the tournament opener at Montana-State Billings. The 6-foot Payne, who will play next year at the University of Washington, added six rebounds and five assists f or the Central A champs, who pulled away from Western A runner-up Bigfork in the second half.

No. 3 Miles City, the Eastern A champ, used tough man-to-man defense to shut down Stevensville 57-35 in the second game. Stevensville, the third-place team from the Western A, went scoreless on its first seven possessions and wound up with its second-lowest point total all season.

Bigfork (16-6) and Stevensville (15-8) square off in a loser-out game Friday at 12:30 p.m. Havre (20-2) and Miles City (20-1) meet in the semifinals at 6:30.

n Havre 71, Bigfork 42: Payne is considered one of the best players Montana has ever produced, and while she didn't play a great game, it was more than enough to subdue Bigfork.

Bigfork played a straight man-to-man defense, with Amanda Emslie, Nicole Manicke and Tanya Potts all taking cracks at Payne. The Havre star was actually human in the first half, making just 6 of 16 shots from the field as the Blue Ponies took a 28-21 lead. She missed a couple of open perimeter shots, and bricked at least two layups.

However, Payne warmed up after intermission, draining three 3-pointers in the third quarter when Havre grabbed a 49-29 lead.

"You give up 35 points (to Payne) and you can't say we shut her down," said Bigfork coach Don Faris. "But she didn't destroy us. It was their other kids picking up garbage around the basket because we didn't rebound that really hurt us."

Bigfork stayed close throughout most of the first half, and trailed just 24-21 when Mikel Siemens scored on a put-back with 1:44 remaining. But Havre grabbed three offensive rebounds in the final 20 seconds and turned them into four free throws to take a 28-21 lead.

Havre coach Dennis Murphy challenged Payne to raise her game at halftime.

"I asked her if her teammates were doing the job, if they were covering for her," Murphy said. "She said 'yeah.' And I said, "Well when are you going to start doing what you're supposed to do? And she smiled and said, 'now.' "

Payne opened the second half with a driving, double-clutch banker through the heart of Bigfork' s defense. Lexy Ranes and Alyssa Matter then converted offensive rebounds into baskets, and the Ponies were on their way. Bigfork opened the second half with four quick turnovers and finished with 22, most of them against Havre's fullcourt press.

Payne wound up 14 of 28 from the floor, including 3 of 5 from beyond the 3-point arc. No other Havre player scored in double figures, but Erin Patera grabbed 11 rebounds and Rachael Lusin had 10 as Havre dominated the boards 45-37.

Guard Tanya Potts, with 17 points, was the lone Bigfork player in double figures. She hit three 3-pointers, including a couple that banked home from long range. Guard Paula Meyer added nine points with some nice dribble drives, and 6-1 sophomore Lisa Saari had seven points, eight rebounds and three blocked shots. Saari had a clear height advantage, but the Vals were never able to consistently get the ball down low. Saari had just seven shots.

Miles City 57, Stevensville 35: Miles City jumped out to a 7-0 lead, led 12-3 after one quarter and never allowed Stevensville to get closer than six points the rest of the way.

Miles City center Cari Donnelly scored just two points, but her defense on Stevensville standout Heather Seyfert might have been the difference in the game. Donnelly did a good job of muscling Seyfert away from the basket, and rarely allowed Stevensville's season scoring leader to get a comfortable shot. Seyfert made 4 of 13 shots en route to 11 points, five less t

han her average. The 5-10 senior also grabbed 10 rebounds and had two blocks.

"Heather never quit, right to the very end, but they did a good job on her," said Stevensville coach Terry Rosin.

Stevensville played some tight defense of its own, using its 2-3 zone to stay within 23-15 at halftime.

"I was pleased to hold them to 23," Rosin said. "They're a hard team to catch. They handle the ball, and they take care it very well."

Miles City showed better offensive patience in the second half, combining the perimter shooting of Kayla Frize (13 points) with the inside work of Amber Griffith (11) and Keely Perkins (10).

Guard Ellie Tuck had a team-high 12 points for Stevensville, which missed the quickness of point guard Sarah Miller, who injured her knee at last week's Western A divisional.

Stevensville shot just 37 percent from the field.

Havre 71, Bigfork 42

Havre 14 14 21 22 - 71

Bigfork 12 09 08 13 - 42

BIGFORK (16-6) - Lisa Saari 4-6 1-2 9, Amy Hein 0-4 1-3 1, Amanda Emslie 0-7 2-4 2, Tanya Potts 7-18 0-0 17, Paula Meyer 4-10 1-3 9, Nicole Manicke 0-2 0-0 0, Shawna Curtis 1-1 0-0 2, Mikel Siemens 1-1 0-0 2, Megan Johnson 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 17-49 5-12 42.

HAVRE (20-2) - Rachael Lusin 2-12 1-2 5, Erin Patera 2-7 3-4 7, Lexy Ranes 3-10 1-3 7, Loree Payne 14-28 4-4 35, Alyssa Matter 3-7 0-0 6, Tiffany Schrauger 1-4 0-1 2, Shannon Brantley 0-0 0-2 0, Nikki Baltrusch 1-2 1-2 3, Amy Ranes 0-2 0-0 0, Breyon Briese 2-2 2-2 6. Totals 28-73 12-20 71.

3-point goals - Bigfork 3-11 (Potts 3-9), Havre 3-12 (Payne 3-5). Total fouls - Bigfork 21, Havre 13. Fouled out - None. Rebounds - Bigfork 37 (Hein 9, Saari 8), Havre 45 (Patera 11, Lusin 10). Turnovers - Bigfork 22, Havre 7.

Miles City 57, Stevensville 35

Miles City 12 11 19 15 - 57

Stevensville 3 12 7 13 - 35

MILES CITY (20-1) - Elizabeth Weimer 3-9 1-1 8, Keely Perkins 5-8 0-0 10, Cari Donnelly 0-6 2-2 2, Kayla Frize 4-12 3-3 13, Molly Hathaway 2-3 0-0 6, Amber Griffith 5-9 1-1 11, Ashley Griffith 1-4 0-0 3, Donna Mae Stanley 2-4 0-0 4, Julie Austill 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 22-55 7-7 57.

STEVENSVILLE (15-8) - Michelle Barbian 2-8 0-0 4, Molly Koenen 1-1 0-0 2, Heather Seyfert 4-14 3-4 11, Ellie Tuck 5-12 1-3 12, Michele Hunter 2-4 0-0 4, Michelle Cleveland 0-1 0-0 0, Mandi Kerr 1-3 0-0 2, Annie Lecoure 0-0 0-0 0, Sara Lozon 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 15-43 4-7 35.

3-point goals - Miles City 6-17 (Hathaway 2-2, Frize 2-8, Weimer 1-5, Ash.Griffith 1-2); Stevensville 1-9 (Tuck 1-3). Total fouls-Miles City 8, Stevensville 8. Fouled out-Koenen. Rebounds - Miles City 31 (Donnelly 6, Am. Griffith 6), Stevensville 32 (Seyfert 10, Koenen 8). Turnovers - Miles City 8, Stevensville 17.

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