Chris Peterson Havre Daily News email@example.com
After a long break from playing competitive basketball both the Havre High basketball teams will be back on the court this weekend against conference foes Lewistown and Butte Central. The Havre High girls (3-3 overall, 1-1 conference) will open the weekend by playing host to arch rival Lewistown tonight at 7 inside the HHS gymnasium. “I thought that the break was good for us,” HHS head coach Dustin Kraske said. “We got a lot of practices in, the kids worked really hard and we were able to put in a few new wrinkles. We know that we have a few things we need to work on, namely shooting and having mindset to catch and shoot, but I think the girls are really starting to pick everything up very well.” The Ponies have dominated the Eagles recently, winning four straight regular season games against them, including season sweeps in each of the last two seasons. However, Lewistown (2-3 overall, 1-0 conference) will come into tonight's game with confidence after winning back-to-back games before the holiday break 1over Laurel, 50-33 and Butt Central, 42-33. However, the Eagles boast only one double-digit scorer in Whitney Miller, who averages just over 12 points a game on the season. Other key players for the Eagles are Josie Sweeney and Jamie Descheemaeker, who both average around eight points a game. Shandy Songer is also a solid contributor, who averages about five points per game and also leads the team in rebounds with just over eight a game. “Lewistown is a pretty good basketball team,” Kraske said. “They are very well coached from what I have seen. They have some pretty good players.” Lewistown is second in the Central A conference, while Havre is currently sitting in a tie for third place with Butte Central. On Saturday, the Ponies will travel to take on conference rival Butte Central. The Maroons (3-2 overall, 1-1 conference) have also been playing well of late winning three of their last four games, with the only loss coming at the hands of Lewistown. The toughest task for the HHS girls against Butte Central will be containing the Maroons dynamic scoring tandem of Brooke Pokorney and Kelli O’Leary Pokorney is one of the most prolific scorers in the Central A conference with an average of over 15 points a game. O’Leary also pitches in with 12 points a game to go along with six rebounds. “It's not going to be easy because Butte Central has a couple of very good players,” Kraske said. “And winning on the road in our conference is something that is never easy to do.” In order to improve upon their 3-3 record, the Ponies will need big performances from senior guards Katie Mariani and Tricia Samson, who both average around nine points per game. Havre will also need a big contribution from Steph Stremcha, who averages nine points a game and leads the team in rebounding, with over seven boards a game. The HHS boys will also be in action this weekend, with a pair of critical central A conference games of their own to deal with, beginning tonight when they travel to Butte to take on the Butte Central Maroons. Havre (2-4 overall, 1-1 conference) enters tonight’s game against the Maroons looking to put an end to a threegame losing streak. “I thought that the break was good for us,” HHS head coach Andy Smith said. “We really worked hard, I thought that our practices went well, I was very impressed with the work ethic of the kids and hopefully we will be better now because of it.” A very talented Maroon team led by star point guard Matt Ritter will challenge the Ponies right out of gates The Maroons (5-0 overall, 2-0 conference) boast the top two scorers in the conference in Ritter, who averages 15 points a game, as well as Tanner Neumann, who scores 17 points a game and is also the team’s leading rebounder. Other contributors for the Maroons include Zack Blair and Matt Boyle. “They have a very good team,” Smith said. “They have players that can shoot the ball at all five positions. So we are really going to have to work hard defensively and we will have to be more patient when we have the ball, so we can take advantage of our opportunities.” The two teams split last season, with each team winning at home. However, the Maroons have won six of the last seven meetings between the two teams, including postseason play. After the game against Butte Central, the Ponies will return home on Saturday to take on Lewistown (1-4 overall, 0-1 conference). The Eagles, who split with the Ponies last season, also boast a couple of talented scorers in Dylan Buehler and Craig Nelson, who each average over 15 points a game. Other contributors include Logan Mossy and Derek Bartel. The Ponies will counter both the Maroons and the Eagles with Tony Filler, who is averaging 15 points a game and Michael Hickman, who is averaging 14 points a game. Grayon Winsor had also provided solid play inside for Havre with an average of 10 points per game to go along with six rebounds. Kyle Finneman also adds eight points and seven boards to the Havre effort. The Pony girls will host Lewistown tonight at the HHS gymnasium. The game will get under way at 7 p.m. The girls will then travel to Butte on Saturday night to take on the Maroons at 5 p. m. The Havre boys will play Butte Central tonight in Butte at 7 p.m., and then return home on Saturday to play host to Lewistown at 5 p.m.