The Havre High girls basketball team needed a win in their last game to lock up the No. 3 seed heading into the divisional tournament. And Friday night at Havre Central, the Class A Ponies did just that. The Ponies defeated the Browning Indians 52-43, clinching the Central A’s No. 3 spot in the meantime. But the home win wasn’t an easy one for the Ponies. And though they took a 12-6 lead after the first quarter, and a 20-16 lead at the half, the Ponies had a relatively shaky start. “I don’t think we played our best game,” Havre High head coach Dustin Kraske said. “And I think the girls would agree with that statement. But we played well enough to come away with the win, which is important. It helped us lock up that No. 3 spot.” Starting out, the Ponies looked jittery. They weren’t playing calm, patient basketball, and just didn’t look like themselves. Early on they also missed quite a few shots relatively close to the basket, and forced what Kraske thought to be a couple too many 3-pointers, going 2-of-8 from behind the arc. “I don’t know if our kids were too amped up to play or what," Kraske said. “It was a huge crowed and our kids were excited for that, but our kids did a nice job, grinded it out and took care of it at the end.” In the third quarter the Indians wore down the Ponies lead. And a lot of credit has to go to the Indians Talia Guardipee, who led the third quarter comeback with nine points. The Indians tied the contest at 32-32, but the Ponies would regain the lead on a strong fourth quarter. HHS outscored the Indians 20-11 in the final frame. The Ponies handled the Indians full court pressure and tightened things up defensively. “Defensively we were very active,” Kraske said. “It led to us getting some transition baskets and led to us playing a little bit better offense. We got to the free throw line which is where the wins are at I think, and we just got back to the style of basketball we have played the second half of the season.” The Ponies got even scoring in the fourth quarter, getting six kids in the books. They also went to the line 16 times, knocking down 12 of the attempts. All in all it was good game for the Ponies, but took some adjusting to capture the win. “It was an interesting basketball game,” Kraske said. “We looked a little unorganized for a while then we looked good. It was kind of fun to watch I guess. Our kids played well enough down the stretch to win and that’s important.” Cassi Darrah led the Ponies with 18 points. Jaclyn Evans followed with 12 points and Hayley Donovan added nine. Paighton Gilman also finished with seven points. Getting the last conference win of the season, the Ponies overcame their slow start and improved to 6-4 in the Central A and 8-10 overall. “I think we put ourselves in the best spot we can be in,” Kraske said. “We started 1-3 in the league, and finished 5-1 in the league. That’s pretty good, we’ll take that. Our kids have come a long way and for sure we are playing our best basketball right now, which this is as good a time as any to do that.” Thursday through Saturday the Ponies will be in Great Falls for the divisional trounament at the CMR field house.
Blue Pony girls finish strong
Published: Monday, February 22nd, 2010
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