By George Ferguson
The fact that the Havre High boys basketball team has completed half of its regular season schedule can mean only one thing - rematches. Tonight the Ponies have a critical rematch with the Harlem Wildcats in Harlem as well a Saturday night home contest with the Glasgow Scotties.
The Ponies were routed by the Scotties on Dec. 13 in Glasgow, but the following night upset Harlem in Havre. This weekend is critical to the Ponies for a number of reasons according to head coach Mark West.
"This is a big weekend because we're playing two of the top schools in Class B," West said. "If we could pick up two wins, it would really put us in a nice position in the Central A standings. But both games are going to be really tough."
Havre (5-4) is coming off of a full week of rest and an emotional upset of the Great Falls High Bison last Thursday night in Havre. That win has West feeling good about his team's chances this weekend, but his team certainly can't afford to rest on its laurels.
"When you win a game like we did against Great Falls High, the team is going to gain a lot of confidence," West said. "But we have worked really hard this week in practice on trying to continue to improve offensively and rebounding."
Tonight's contest with the second-ranked Wildcats will be an intense one, according West. Harlem (9-1) has run off six straight victories since losing to the Ponies in December, and West knows that they will be up for this game.
"I am sure Harlem is going to be ready for us," West said. "Ever since we beat them, they have refocused as a team and have been playing extremely well."
Harlem has been getting balanced scoring from starters Chris Cole and Hank Brockie, but lately it has been the consistent play of center Jim Kennedy and point guard Colby Fetter that have made Harlem into a quality team.
West believes that the keys to this game will be very similar to the first matchup.
"In order to be successful we are going to have to slow them down and force them into a half-court game," West said. "If we do that and rebound well, we will be able to have some success against them again."
"But it is going to be tough to go into their home gym because I'm sure they have been looking forward to playing us," West added.
On Saturday night, Havre will welcome the sixth-ranked Glasgow Scotties. This time, it will be the Ponies who will be seeking revenge. The Scotties hammered the Ponies 72-52 in Glasgow in their first meeting, but West thinks that Saturday night can, and should, be a different story.
"Glasgow is a very solid club," West said. "They have a lot of size and (Randy) Elletson and (Sam) Brelje are great players."
"We are going to play them differently than last time," West continued. "In Glasgow we tried to pressure them, and they ended up getting a lot of easy baskets. In this game, we have to slow down their guard play and help each other inside against their big guys and on the boards."
Glasgow is 8-1 on the season and besides Brelje and Elletson, the Scotties also possess a great shooting guard in Steve Falcon as well as 6-4 forward Charlie Waters.
Tonight's game between Havre and Harlem will tip off at 7:30 p.m. The game can be heard on 610 KOJM-AM. Saturday night's contest between Glasgow and Havre will tip off at 7:30 p.m. at the Havre High Gymnasium.