It’s the final game of the season for Havre High boys basketball team, and while it wont determine the Blue Ponies' seeding in the postseason, it will have an impact. Tonight the Central A Ponies (4-5, 9-7) will host the conference opponent Browning Indians. It will be a home game for the Ponies, but will take place at Havre Central at 7. The Ponies are sitting in the No. 4 spot in the Central A, well ahead of No. 5 Lewistown, but too far to gain any ground on No. 3 Belgrade. Winning or losing won’t have any impact on the Ponies' divisional tournament seeding, but it could alter who they would play in round two, granted HHS wins their game in round one. If the Ponies win tonight, they would run into Butte Central, but if the Ponies lose they would see the Indians in the second round of the tournament. “It’s extremely important to play well,” Havre High head coach Andy Smith said. “I think this is an extension of the tournament. It’s a conference game against a top team and it will be a good indicator of how far we have come this year.” In their first meeting the Indians handed the Ponies an 82-76 loss in Browning. And for the most part the Ponies played well. But after falling just short of the win, the Ponies know what they need to do the second time around. Cody Edwards put up 28 points for the Indians the first time around. And as well as finding a way to contain Edwards, the Ponies have to keep the Indians off the offensive boards. “That was a difference maker,” Smith said. “They got a lot of second chance opportunities. We have to do a better job as a team to keep them off the glass.” Offensively, the Ponies are also looking to play more consistent as a team. They need balanced scoring from starters CJ Evans, Thane Gray, Anfernee Standing Rock, Logan Connor and Brandon Smith, as well as decent production from the bench. “All of our kids have the ability to score,” Smith said. “And everybody has had a big games offensively for us this year. Everybody has to contribute.” Rebounding and a productive offense is crucial this weekend. But more than anything, HHS has to play good defense. The Indians are team that lives off of runs. They have a team loaded with offensive talent, and have the ability to put the game away early. And it will the job of the Pony defense to not only limit the Indians scoring runs, but man up against anybody the put on the floor. “This is a big challenge for our defense,” Smith said. “And it’s a defense that hasn’t played real consistent all year. If they (Browning) put someone on the floor, they can score, so it will be a challenge to just do all the little things.” There isn’t a whole lot of weight on this last game for the Ponies. But with the divisional tournament just around the corner, they would like to close out the season with a conference win, and good play from top to bottom. Tonight at Havre Central, the Ponies will host the Indians at 7.
Havre High boys finish the regular season tonight at Havre Central
Published: Thursday, February 18th, 2010
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