Chris Peterson Havre Daily News firstname.lastname@example.org
On the first night of the season the Havre High girls basketball team didn’t do anything flashy and wasn’t particularly impressive. But in the end, it didn’t matter because the Blue Ponies just found a way to win. After easily defeating Cut Bank twice last season, the Ponies appeared to be on the way to another easy victory after grabbing a 16-8 lead at the end of the first quarter of Thursday night's season-opener in Cut Bank. However, the Wolves refused to go away quietly. They found a way to hang around all night long before the Ponies finally walked away with a gritty 44-37 victory to move to 1-0 on the young season. “I think that you have to give Cut Bank a lot of credit,” HHS head coach Dustin Kraske said. “They played really well throughout the game. It was a tough game, but we played some pretty good defense and we were able to come away with the win.” Tricia Samson led a balanced Havre High offense with a game-high 15 points in the victory. Hope Hedges also contributed with nine points, while Katie Mariani pitched in with seven points. “Tricia played really well tonight,” Kraske said. “She was good in just about every area of the game. Stacey Sheppard also had a very good game for us. But I think the biggest key for us was probably our play on defense. Katie didn’t really shoot the ball that well, but I was very impressed with how she played defensively.” Danni Johnson was the leading scorer for the Wolves after posting a team-high 14 points in the loss. Sam Biegler also added eight points and Courtney Sheble finished with six points for Cut Bank. After jumping out to the early lead, the Wolves outscored the Ponies 10-9 in both the second and third quarters to trim the deficit to 34-28 heading into the fourth quarter of play. But that was about as close as they would ever really get, as Havre outscored the Wolves 10-9 in the fourth quarter to hang on for the victory. “We just didn’t shoot the basketball as well as we usually do,” Kraske said. “I don’t think we are in quite as good a shape as I thought we were going into the game, so that’s something we will improve. But I think that you just have to give a lot of credit to Cut Bank. They played a really good basketball game.” Now that the Ponies got the first win of the season out of the way, they can turn their attention to tonight’s showdown with Malta, the defending Class B state champions. After falling twice to Malta last season, the Ponies are anxious to reacquaint themselves with the M-Ettes tonight in Havre. “I’m not sure if we were looking ahead to the Malta game a little bit or not, but Malta is a great team and we are really looking forward to playing them,” Kraske explained. “They went undefeated last season and they beat us twice, so we know that we are going to have to play a great game to beat them. But it should really be a lot of fun and I know that we are really looking forward to the challenge.” Malta went undefeated last season and returns a strong corp from that team, highlighted by Laramie Schwenkie and Kylee Denham. The Ponies and the M-Ettes will meet tonight in Havre inside the HHS gymnasium. Tip-off is scheduled for 7 p. m.