Havre Daily News
Revenge is sweet, and the Havre High girls basketball team was finally able to get some revenge against Lewistown when the Blue Ponies downed the Eagles, 57-35, in a gratifying achievement in Lewistown on Friday night.
Havre, which was looking to remain unbeaten on the road in Central A Conference play, got off to a fast start and jumped out in front 16-12 after the first quarter.
The Eagles, who are young and inexperienced, were trying to find a way to keep themselves in the game, but the Ponies are more experienced and, at least on this night, a much better ball club. By halftime the Ponies had pushed their lead to 13 points at 35-22.
The Ponies pulled away for good in the fourth quarter as they outscored the Eagles 17-9 in the final frame.
“We are happy to beat them,” HHS head coach Jason Wirt said. “Our bench played really well, Alexa Lipp shot the ball very well, and Keelie Solomon got us off to a great start as she got a couple of steals that led to some easy baskets early on.”
Steph Flatau led the Ponies with a double-double, as she had a workmanlike 11 points and 12 rebounds.
Lipp was the leading scorer on the night with 14 points, including three 3-pointers to continue her hot streak from beyond the arc.
Solomon was also a big contributor, scoring 12 points and grabbing eight rebounds to go along with four steals.
“You just really can't say enough about these kids,” Wirt said.“Steph Stremcha was really solid for us, and we are just getting some really quality minutes from our bench right now. And if we can continue to get solid minutes off the bench, we are going to be tough to beat come tournament time.”
The Ponies were so good defensively that they held the Eagles without a double-digit scorer. Lyndsey Bayless led the Eagles with eight points.
On Saturday night, the Ponies played host to the Malta M-Ettes at the HHS gymnasium.
The Ponies would ultimately prevail in a defensive struggle, 49-39, over a Malta team that has been highly regarded in the Class B ranks.
Havre jumped out to a 10-8 lead after a sloppy first quarter, in a game in which baskets would be hard to come by.
The Ponies went on a mini-spurt in the second quarter to take an 18-12 lead, and had an 18-17 lead at halftime.
Malta answered in the third quarter and went on a 9-0 run to take its first and only lead of the night at 21-18.
Soon after falling behind, the Ponies came right back when Flatau made a basket and was fouled. After she converted the free throw, the game was tied at 21-21.
Havre used that spark to end the third stanza on a 13-5 run that gave the Ponies a 31-26 advantage heading into the final period.
In the fourth quarter, the Ponies' lead grew to seven points when sophomore Katie Mariani got a steal and was fouled as she made a basket. She converted the free throw to give the Ponies a 10-point lead at 36-26, as well as a huge shift in momentum. That play capped a 20-5 run that put the Ponies in firm control.
Freshman Kylee Denham tried to keep the M-Ettes in the game with three treys down the stretch, but in the end the Ponies were too much, and Malta just could not keep up with them.
“We are starting to play well defensively,” Wirt said. “We struggled a little bit early on and they got some easy baskets and kind of set the tone. But we were able to keep them off balance and change things up on them. We kept rotating kids in and out to keep them fresh, and we made their shooters play some defense and after a while it began to take its toll.”
Flatau was the only Pony in double figures. She scored 11 points to go along with 10 rebounds and four steals.
Junior Lena Suek had a good night all around with eight points, four rebounds and three steals.
For the M-Ettes, two players scored double figures. Kylee Denham and Kelly Pankratz each scored a game-high 15 points.
The Ponies have now managed to reel off four straight wins after previously losing four straight games and starting the season at 2-4.
“The kids understood the teams we played during that stretch were very difficult, and luckily they are buying into what I am selling,” Wirt said. “The biggest goal is for the last game of the year to mean something. We just want a chance and we just have to keep plugging away at it.”
Havre (6-4) will host Livingston and Belgrade this weekend.
Havre 57, Lewistown 35
Havre 16 19 5 17 - 57
Lewistown 12 10 5 8 - 35
Havre - Stephanie Flatau 5-9 1-3 11, Hope Hedges 2-3 2-4 6, Kelsey Evans 1-4 2, Katie Mariani 1-3 3, Alexa Lipp 5-9 1-2 14, Keelie Solomon 3-8 4-7 12, Stephanie Stremcha 2-3 0-2 4, Lena Suek 1-6 3.
Lewistown - H. Rettig 2, J. Berg 4, K. Richter 5, E. Bentley 7, M. Mcinerson 1, L. Bayless 8, K. D'Autremont 4, K. Spraggens 4. Totals - 15 4-17 35
Total fouls - Havre 16, Fergus 12. Fouled out - none. 3-pointers - K. Mariani, A. Lipp 3, L. Suek, E. Bentley
Havre 49, Malta 39
Malta 8 9 9 13 - 39
Havre 10 8 12 18 - 49
Malta - Laramie Schwenke 5, Kelly Pankratz 15, Kylee Denham 15, Katie Lowney 4. Totals: 14 3-6.
Havre -Tricia Samson 0-1 0, Stephanie Flatau 2-9 7-10 11, Hope Hedges 0-0 2-2 2, Kelsey Evans 3-5 1-4 8, Katie Mariani 2-3 1-3 5, Alexa Lipp 2-9 3-5 9, Keelie Solomon 2-6 4, Stephanie Stremcha 1-1 2, Lena Suek 3-6 2-6 8.
Total fouls - Malta 21, Havre 12. Fouled out - Schwenke. 3-pointers - Pankratz 3, Denham 3, Evans, Lipp 2.