Daniel Horton Havre Daily News email@example.com
It wasn’t exactly the start that the Havre High girls basketball team wanted for their first home game of the season, but it ended in a way they could all be happy about. On Saturday, the Central A Blue Ponies defeated the Class AA Great Falls Bison by a final score of 49-32 at the Havre High gymnasium. And the first quarter couldn’t have gotten off to any worse a start for the Ponies. It was littered with turnovers, miscommunication and missed shots. The Ponies went down 7-0 to the Bison and missed their first eight shots of the night. And it wasn’t until there were under three minutes left in the quarter when Hope Hedges put them on the board with two points. Also in the first quarter, Cassi Darrah hit one free throw and had a bucket of her own to close the gap to 9-5 heading into the second. “The beginning was pretty slow.” Havre High head coach Dustin Kraske said. “But after that I thought that offensively we did some nice things and defensively I thought we played pretty hard. Overall, I think that everybody who played, played very well.” But luckily for the Ponies, it didn’t take long for them to settle into a groove and turn the game around. At the start of the second quarter, a steal led to a Cali Freier bucket that sparked a 5-0 Pony run, to go up 10-9 over the Bison. And after giving up only two more baskets in the quarter, the Ponies really buckled down. “We were really aggressive in the second quarter.” Kraske said. “We transitioned very nicely from the defensive end to the offensive end, and took advantage of some numerical opportunities.” With less than four minutes left in the half, the Ponies regained the lead, and then increased it with a stellar 12-0 run. They were sitting comfortably with a 22-13 lead headed into the locker room. The Bison’s zone defense made finding a groove tough for the Ponies, but after a few offensive adjustments by Kraske, the Ponies were able to find and knock down more open shots. They put up 14 points in the third quarter, and 13 more in the fourth, while holding the Bison to only eight fourth-quarter points. Sarah Blessum struggled from the field at first, but she was still able to go 2-of-6 from behind the arc and lead the Pony scoring with 12 points. And Madison Ruff pitched in with eight points of her own. Hedges ended the game with 11 points, including two 3-pointers, and she did a nice job of penetrating the zone and kicking the ball out or underneath for open shots. And on defense, she was able to help in the stopping of GFH's Brittany Kumm. “We kind of take for granted all the nice things she (Hedges) does to help our team.” Kraske said. “And we should quit doing that because we should enjoy watching her play.” The Ponies knew that a big part of their success would depend on how well they did at stopping the Bison’s Kumm and Erika Jenkins. And for the most part they weren’t a problem. Jenkins accounted for only six points, and Kumm for seven. With their first home win of the season, the Ponies now improve to 2-1 overall. The Ponies were also scheduled to play the CMR Rustlers on Friday, but with extreme weather conditions, the game has been postponed until Jan. 16. But the Ponies will play twice this week. They travel to Lewistown on Friday and host Butte Central on Saturday.