The Havre High boys basketball team lost the bulk of its scoring from a year ago.
And as the Blue Ponies get set to open a brand new season tonight in Malta, the Havre Daily News sat down for five questions with veteran head coach Andy Smith about the upcoming season.
HDN: What’s the excitement like heading into the first game of the season?
Smith: “It’s exciting because it is built up since the end of last season. Basically it starts then and it’s nine months away, and now it’s finally here. We are back at it and ready to go, and with the accumulation of what goes on behind the scenes and in the off season, the fun part finally begins.”
HDN: Which conference opponent’s fans give you the most trouble on the road?
Smith: “We had a stacked game last year where the boys and girls teams played in Browning where they have a new gym. It was completely packed and probably as big of a conference crowed our team has played in front of. Browning’s community loves basketball and it’s pretty neat to see. They love the game and they come out and show it.”
HDN: What’s the hardest thing about coaching a young and inexperienced team?
Smith: “The biggest thing is just being patient and trying to get that across to the team. It’s an emotional rollercoaster throughout the season with the ups and downs, and the thing that they have to keep in mind is that the most important part comes at the end of the season. At the end of the season all of the records are thrown out and everybody gets to start over. We just have to keep the mindset of improving every night and staying the course.”
HDN: What are the team goals that you like to set every year?
Smith: “The goal is to just get better each week and to ultimately get to the state tournament. Every year is a new group of kids, but their goal is to always reach that state tournament and that’s always a consistent goal. We want to be playing our best basketball so we can do that, and once you reach the state tournament, anything can happen.”
HDN: What does it take from a team to constantly improve throughout the season?
Smith: “ The biggest thing is attitude, the overall team attitude. And that comes from team leaders that come in and set the tone and have good work ethic. You really need kids that want to come in and are willing to pay the price everyday. If their goal is to reach the state tournament, then they need to put in the work and give themselves a chance. You have to come in everyday as a team and set the tone each day.”