Daniel Horton Havre Daily News firstname.lastname@example.org
Depending on how you look at the situation, winter break can either be a help or a hindrance to high school sports. But in either case, the Class A Havre High wrestling team and the Blue Pony boys and girls basketball teams all teams are returning to action. On Saturday all three programs will return to play. At the Havre High gymnasium the Blue Pony wrestling team will host the Lewistown Golden Eagles and Glasgow Scotties. The Ponies will face the Eagles at 11 a.m. and the Scotties at 2 p.m. Also at the HHS gymnasium, the Central A Blue Pony boys basketball team (1-1, 2-1) will host the Class AA Great Falls Bison at 7:30 p.m. On the road, the girls basketball team (0-2, 0-3) will also face the Bison Saturday night in Great Falls. Coming out of the break, the HHS wrestling program is ready to get back on the mats. The Ponies had previously settled into a productive groove and should find their way back against this weekends competition. “We went into the break with the idea we were going to continue doing what we have been doing,” Havre High head wrestling coach Scott Filius said. “We are really focused on fundamentals and conditioning. I feel good coming out of the break, we have everybody back, everybody is healthy and there is no reason why we shouldn’t compete to our ability.” Making up Saturday’s lineup will be Gilbert Bara (105), Duell Stadel (112), Zack Smith (119), Brett Normandy (125), Dillon Seely (130), Riley Harwood (135), Tyson Gruber (140), Eli Hinebauch (145), Kent Pattison (152), Kameron Pribyl (160), Casey Schaub (171), Josh Salapich (189), Jared Ruttofsky (215) and Mitch Schnittgen (285). The Scotties defeated the Ponies 45- 36 right before the break in Glasgow. It should be another tight matchup, but the Ponies would like to respond with a win of their own. The dual is not just a rematch of two weeks ago, but a matchup between the three-time Class A defending champions and the three-time defending Class B state champions. Meanwhile, the Eagles aren’t as deep as the Ponies or Scotties, but present a threat with outstanding individual talent. Brothers, Ryan Martin and Rex Martin will pose a big threat as will Connor Malone, all three wrestlers are ranked No. 1 in their respective weight classes. “They are short guys,” Filius said. “So I think the score of the dual isn’t going to be indicative of some of the competition in the matches. They’ve got three or four kids who are as good as anybody in the state and then they drop off pretty rapidly. We want to compete with their best kids.” Both Martin boys have had their share of battles against the Ponies, and should test HHS once again. And coming in anywhere from 140 pounds to 152 pounds, Gruber, Pattison and Pribyl all have a shot at possibly facing either one of the Martins. Remaining in the HHS gymnasium, the Pony boys basketball team will take the floor at 7 p.m. where they will face the undefeated, 4-0 Bison. “We have a tough opponent,” Havre High head boys basketball coach Andy Smith said. “Great Falls is a great opponent. But like I said, every team on our schedule is tough and any team can win on any given night. We have to come out and be ready to go and ready to compete.” It’s going to take good play across the board for the Ponies to remain competitive. In their last home game they didn’t play to their potential and suffered their first loss of the season. Now coming out of the holiday break, the Ponies are looking to get back on track. The Bison aren’t a big team. But what they lack in size they make up for in shooting and quickness. “We have to make sure everybody is covered,” Smith said. “They are going to use their quickness to get open and to penetrate. They have some good shooters and that makes them tough to defend.” Logan Connor, C.J. Evans, Thane Gray and Anfernee Standing Rock have been the Ponies' go to players this season. And with another height advantage over their opponent, Gray and Standing Rock should have favorable nights. “We hope to come out and compete,” Smith said. “If we play at the level where I think our kids are capable we’re going to be able to compete with them (Great Falls).” The HHS girls are also facing the Bison on Saturday, but doing so on the road. And looking for their first win of the season, the Ponies will face a tough 2-2 opponent in Great Falls. Cassi Darrah leads the Ponies while averaging just over eight points per game. But it’s going to take good production from the other Pony leaders as well. Jaclyn Evans, Cali Freier, Hayley Donovan and Madison Ruff will increase the Ponies chances immensely if able to put together an overall good game. The Bison have consistently been a tough team in the Class AA. And led by Brittany Kumm, the Ponies will be tested this weekend. Saturday's action in Havre begins with the dual between Havre and Lewistown at 11 a.m. Glasgow will then take on Lewistown, followed by HHS and the Scotties. The basketball game between the HHS boys and GFH tips off at 7 p.m.