By George Ferguson/Havre Daily News Sportsemail@example.com
As if it hasn't already been difficult enough, the Havre High girls basketball team will enter a very difficult portion of its schedule Saturday when they host the Butte Central Maroons at 5 p.m. at the HHS gymnasium.
The Ponies are sitting at 4-3 overall and 2-1 in Central A conference play. Havre is also coming off of a solid all-around performance against a very good Chinook Sugarbeeter team on Tuesday night.
While the win over the Beeters was not easy, first-year head coach Jason Wirt admitted that things will get even tougher for his team as the season goes along, and it starts on Saturday night with the Maroons.
"The kids did a great job against Chinook," Wirt said. "We executed everything we were trying to do really well in that game. I think we are very well prepared for Butte Central. We are working towards getting better for February and this game is another important one for us."
The Maroons will be back in Havre for the first time since the Ponies knocked them out of the Central A divisional tournament last February. They are 4-2 this season and will be in Browning tonight to take on the Lady Indians at 7:30.
Butte Central's two losses include a loss at Central A favorite Lewistown, but BC also has quality wins over Anaconda and Class AA Helena Capital.
The Maroons return everybody from last year's team, making them an experienced group. They are led by leading scorers Jordan Kambich (15 ppg) and Jody Hogart (13 ppg). Hogart is a dangerous outside shooter, who has already connected on 24 three pointers this season.
"Butte Central is a team that will get after you," Wirt said. "They are going to press us and try to get us to play faster than we want to. They match up with us well size-wise and they have very quick players and good shooters. This will be a good test for our team."
Still, the Ponies have come out of Christmas break looking very sharp. Leading scorer Steph Flatau torched Chinook for 16 points on Tuesday night and the Ponies are getting solid output from all nine of their players.
"The big thing for us against Butte Central is to just play defense like we have been," Wirt said. "We have to be aware of where their shooters are and make sure we get a hand up at all times and force them to shoot over the top of our defenders.
"Offensively, we need to be able to handle their full court press," he added. "If we do that and we execute our gameplan like we're capable of, then we should be fine."
Tip-off for Saturday night's Central A conference showdown between Havre and Butte Central is scheduled for 5 p.m. at the HHS gymnasium. The game can be heard locally on 610 KOJM-AM.