Chris Peterson Havre Daily News email@example.com
As far as the regular season games go, there won’t be any bigger for the Havre High girls basketball team than its rematch against Livingston. When you look at the Central A conference standings you will find three teams tied for the top spot. Havre, Livingston and Lewistown all currently boast 4-1 conference records, leaving them tied for the top spot in the regular season standings. But after this weekend, at least one of those teams will no longer be in the three-way tie after Havre and Livingston duke it out tonight inside the HHS gymnasium. “It’s a little bit like when we played them last year,” HHS head coach Dustin Kraske said. “Last year we were tied for first place, but you also have Lewistown at 4-1, so its going to be a big game for us.” Lately, the Rangers have had the Ponies' number, winning three out of the last four games, including last season’s Central A divisional championship game, as well as a game played on Dec. 14 in Livingston that the Rangers won 47-39. In that first meeting, the Rangers completely shut down the Havre offense, while Sage Indendi and Mackenzie Sco- field had 12 and 11 points, respectively. Mia Meyer also had a strong game, scoring seven points grabbing 10 rebounds, notching two steals and also recording a block. As a team the Rangers tore down 26 rebounds, including 10 offensive rebounds. “They have some talented players,” Kraske said. “We need to do a good job of defending them and keeping them off of the glass.” F o r the season, Indendi is one of the top scorers in the conference with an average of 15.3 points per game. Scofield has also had a strong season scoring 13 points a game, while Meyer averages 7.4 points per game to go along with 7.3 rebounds a game. However, the Rangers (7-2 overall, 4-1 conference) are coming off their first conference loss of the season in a 53-45 defeat at the hands of Lewistown to force a three-way tie in the standings. The Ponies (6-3 overall, 4-1 conference) come into the game riding the momentum of a four-game winning streak. They have also won five of their last six games. During that stretch, only one team has managed to score 40 points against the stingy HHS defense. In the first meeting the Rangers had no answer for senior forward Steph Stremcha, who scored 21 points and grabbed seven boards. Meanwhile, senior Katie Mariani has averaged nearly 13 points in Havre’s four-game winning streak, giving her a season average of 10.4 points per game. Tricia Samson is the team’s second-leading scorer with 9.6 points a game, while Stremcha averages 8.1 points per game to go along with a teamhigh 7. 1 rebounds a game. “ We have really been doing a nice job on defense lately, but we need to start shooting the ball more,” Kraske said. “We have a lot of great shooters on this team and some of them have been passing up open looks, so they need to be confident in their abilities and shoot the ball.” On Saturday, HHS will be looking for its second straight regular season sweep of Belgrade, after the Ponies thrashed the Panthers in their first meeting by the score of 69-40 back in December in Belgrade. Mariani connected on three treys in the win for a gamehigh 16 points, while Samson and Stremcha each had 10 points. No Belgrade player was able to reach double figures in the first contest. Belgrade’s two biggest offensive threats are Jamie Greany, who averages 7.8 points per game and Brittany Larsen, who averages 7.7 points per game. Belgrade is currently fifth in the Central A conference standings with a record of 1-4, and the Panthers are also just 2-7 overall. HHS and Livingston will tip off tonight inside the HHS Gymnasium at 5:30. On Saturday, Havre will take on Belgrade. The game will get under way at 3:30 p.m.