Havre Daily News
If the rest of the state hasn't noticed the Havre High girls basketball team, it had better start.
The Blue Ponies came into their contest against the Butte Central Maroons on Friday night at the HHS gymnasium looking to take their winning streak to nine.
The Ponies did just that as they completely overwhelmed a young, inexperienced Butte Central team, 76-32, improving their record to 7-1 in conference play and 11-4 overall.
The win also kept Havre's hopes alive for a Central A Conference title. The Ponies and Browning Indians will meet in the last game of the season in a game that could be for the title.
“The kids came out and played well. Everything we did looked sharp,” HHS head coach Jason Wirt said.
“It was a huge win for us,” he added.
The Ponies got out of the gates quickly as they outscored the Maroons 22-8 in a dominating first quarter that answered any questions about the outcome of the contest.
The Maroons are winless on the season, so it would have been easy for a team to not bring its A game. But the Ponies are not just any team.
“We talked all week in practice about how we couldn't afford a letdown because this was a big game and we needed it if we want the last game of the year to mean something,” Wirt said.
The rout continued in the second quarter, with the Ponies outscoring the Maroons 17-4 and taking a commanding 39-12 lead at the half.
It was more of the same in the second half as the Ponies simply dominated, taking a 53-24 lead into the final period.
In the fourth quarter the Ponies put a lot of their young, up-and-coming players in the game. The lineup change didn't seem to change the level of play and the Ponies continued to show their superiority.
“I'm pleased with what we're doing right now and how we are keeping it going,” Wirt said. “Confidence breeds confidence and you can see every kid is getting more confident with every game.”
Steph Flatau once again led the way for the Ponies, pouring in a game-high 17 points. Alexa Lipp added 11 points in the win, and Steph Stremcha contributed with 10 points off the bench. Fellow sophomore Katie Mariani chipped in with nine points and Christina Armstrong had seven.
The Ponies held Butte Central without a double-digit scorer on the night, but Kiley Prendergest led the Maroons with a team-high nine points. Brooke Pokorny added eight points in the loss.
“Everything these girls are getting, they deserve,” Wirt said. “They didn't get enough credit at the beginning of the year. People can say what they want about our schedule or our conference, but we beat the teams in front of us and we play a quality schedule.
“Hopefully we can keep it going and just keep playing well,” he added. “If we keep playing well, the winning will take care of itself.”
The Ponies will be back at home on Thursday night to honor their seniors when they face Lewistown at 7 p.m.
Ponies 76, Maroons 32
Butte Central 8 4 12 8 - 32
Havre 22 17 14 23 - 76
Butte Central - Britney Brophy 4, Kelli O'Leary 2, Kiley Prendergest 9, Brooke Pokorny 8, Alli Kling 2, Marissa Peoples 7. Totals 11 9-13.
Havre - Tricia Samson 7, Steph Flatau 17, Hope Hedges 6, Kelsey Evans 2, Katie Mariani 9, Alexa Lipp 11, Keelie Solomon 5, Christina Armstrong 7, Steph Stremcha 10, Lena Suek 2. Totals 23 24-33.
Total fouls - Butte Central 21, Havre 11. Fouled out - none. Three-point goals - Peoples, Samson, Mariani 2, Lipp, Solomon, Armssonal.