Havre Daily News
The Havre High girls basketball team will open up the 2005-06 home schedule tonight at the HHS gymnasium when it takes on Central A power Browning.
The Ponies will be looking to impress their home fans and prove to themselves and the rest of their conference that they can compete with the very best that the Central A has to offer.
Following tonight's game, Havre will head to Great Falls on Saturday to take on archrival Great Falls High in a game that could be a big confidence boost to a young team, should the Ponies happen to win it.
Both opponents should present difficult challenges to the Ponies this weekend. The Browning Indians are one of the top teams in Class A, and the Ponies always have trouble beating the Bison in Great Falls.
The Ponies opened up the season on the road last weekend as they traveled to Livingston and Belgrade and managed to get two big early-season wins.
If the Ponies could find a way to win Friday, they would be 3-0 in conference play and well on their way to having a big season.
“Win or lose, it is still early,” HHS head coach Jason Wirt said. “Winning this game would give us a big boost in confidence, but we still have to keep getting better and solving some of the problems we had last weekend.”
Browning comes in as one of the top teams in the state. One of the main reasons is their size and their ability to rebound the ball with the best of them.
Rebounding is not an area of strength for the undersized Ponies.
“We have to limit their second-chance points,” Wirt said. “They shot 150 shots in two games and we shot only 97 in two games.”
The Ponies are also going to have to deal with Browning's full-court defensive pressure, which has caused some teams problems. The Ponies' ability to break the press will go a long way in determining who is victorious Friday night.
“They are going to come at us and pressure us,” Wirt said. “They want us to play faster than we want to, and they will try to make us turn the ball over.”
The Ponies are led by Steph Flatau, Alex Lipp, Kelsey Evans and Keelie Solomon. All of them had a great start to the season last weekend, and the group will be counted on to guide HHS tonight.
Browning will counter with a duo of extremely talented players in seniors Jenna Skunkcap and Bobbi Woodworth.
Wirt was also adamant that his team will not change what it does to try and adapt to different teams. Instead, Wirt's team will focus on getting better and perfecting the things they need to work on heading into this weekend's games.
“We are not going to chance much,” Wirt said. “We just need to be aggressive and put the pressure on them, as well as make sure that we hit the boards hard this weekend.”
Saturday, the Ponies head to Great Falls for their annual matchup against the Bison in a big nonconference tilt. This is just another part of the Ponies' tough schedule that will provide them with a measuring stick to see how well they are progressing early in the season.
“That's the good thing about our nonconference schedule. It's tough and it gives us a chance to see where we are at, and it provides us with a challenge each night,” Wirt said. “Playing all of these tough games during the season should help us when we get to the end of the season.”
If they can find a way to get a win or two this weekend the Ponies will send a message to the rest of their conference to look out, because they are on their way back to the top.
“Friday night is the big one for us,” Wirt said. “We would like to beat Great Falls High, but it's a nonconference game. Browning is a conference game and winning that game would be a big boost to our confidence. The game we want to win is Friday.”
Tonight's game between Havre High and Browning will get under way at 7:30. Saturday's game between GFH and Havre will begin at 4:30 p.m. at the Bison Fieldhouse in Great Falls.