Going on the road is never easy in high school basketball. And a two-game, season-opening road trip against two Central A opponents can even be more of a challenge.
But the Havre High girls basketball team certainly answered the call this weekend, splitting with Central A rivals Belgrade and Livingston. HHS lost in Belgrade 52-43 on Friday night, but quickly rebounded to beat Livingston 54-40 on Saturday.
“Our kids did a really good job,” Havre high head coach Dustin Kraske said. “We are pretty pleased to be able to go on the road and get a split. And what’s very important is, we got better from Friday to Saturday and that’s really what we’re looking to do right now.”
Havre’s commanding win over the Rangers on Saturday came by way of a strong fourth-quarter effort. The games was tied at 34-34 heading into the final stanza, but in the last eight minutes, the Ponies outscored Livingston 20-6, a stellar run which was helped by some outstanding defense.
Kraske said that was the big difference in the game, and a big difference between Saturday’s win and Friday’s loss.
“I think in both games we played very hard and we played well,” Kraske said. “Even against Belgrade, we played well. The difference was, we played a very good fourth quarter against Park, and we didn’t against Belgrade. We didn’t get the defensive stops against Belgrade that we needed and we did against Livingston. So it was really nice to see us improve from one game to the next. It was pretty fun to watch us grow up right before our eyes a little bit this weekend.”
Indeed, the Ponies played a bevy of younger players on the road this weekend, and in both games all of them contributed. In the win over Livingston, junior Kassala Holdsclaw paced the Ponies with 14 points, while freshman Brandy Lambourne and Peyton Filius chipped in with 10 points each. Jaclyn Evans added nine points, while Sammy Evans gave the Ponies some great defense in the post.
Against the Panthers, Holdsclaw had another strong outing, scoring a team-high 16 points, while Jaclyn Evans added 14. The Ponies were nip and tuck with Belgrade throughout, but a 19-13 fourth-quarter run by the Panthers salted the game away.
Still, HHS came away from its toughest road trip of the season with an important conference split, and more importantly, the young Ponies made some big strides.
“At this time of year, we’re just striving to get better each game,” Kraske said. “And we did that this weekend. So I’m really pleased with our kids and what we were able to accomplish.”
Havre (1-1) will wrap up the 2010 portion of its season with the first home game of the year on Tuesday night when the Blue Ponies take on Class AA CMR at 7 p.m. at the Havre High gymnasium.
Belgrade 52, Havre 43
Havre 5 17 8 13 — 43
Belgrade 10 16 7 19 — 52
Havre — Brandy Lambourne 2, Jaclyn Evans 14, Kassala Holdsclaw 16, Peyton Filius 3, Christina Mack 4, Paighton Gilman 4. Totals: 17 9-20 43.
Belgrade — Annie Prickett 13, Justine Taylor 3, Angie Schmit 2, Morgan Wandler 1, Dylan Fowler 8, Amanda Hayden 11, Lindsey Halgren 14. Totals: 16 18-32.
3-point goals: Fowler, Hayden). Fouls: Hav 21, Bel 19. Fouled out: Mack, Taylor.
Havre 54, Livingston 40
Havre 11 11 12 20 — 54
Livingston 16 6 12 6 — 40
Havre — Brandy Lambourne 10, Jaclyn Evans 9, Kassala Holdsclaw 14, Sammy Evans 4, Peyton Filius 10, Chris Mack 3, Paighton Gilman 4. Totals 21 9-11 54
Livingston — Emily Fochs 7, Tory Njardvik 12, Courtney Njardvik 2, Alexandra Ricketts 2, Macy Ricketts 2, Alyssa Cornell 4, Claire Meyer 11. Totals 15 9-15 40
3-pointers: Havre 4 (Filius 2, Lambourne, J. Evans); Livingston 1 (Fochs).