If it hadn’t been for a slow start offensively and for a few untimely fouls, the Havre High girls basketball team may have come away with a win.
Thursday night at the Havre High gymnasium the Browning Indians defeated the Blue Ponies 46-40 in Central A play.
The Ponies trailed the Indians the entire first half, as well as for the entire third quarter. And it wasn’t until the 6:56 mark in the fourth quarter the Ponies were finally able to game at 30-30 after clawing their way back after trailing by as much 11 throughout.
“We didn’t attack as well as we could have,” Havre High head coach Dustin Kraske said.” That’s my fault that we weren’t ready to do that. But I think our adjustments at half time, doing what we did, our kids did a good job.”
At the end of the first quarter the Indians led 13-6, and at the halfway mark the Indians led 22-11. But as the Ponies began to settle into more of an offense, the Indians lead was just 30-26 heading into the fourth quarter.
After the Ponies tied the contest at 30-30 both teams battled to maintain the lead. But ultimately it was the Indians who went on top 39-38 and never looked back.
The HHS offense was still playing fairly well, but costly fouls in bonus situations put the Indians on the free-throw-line too many times, while the Ponies missed several opportunities at a few free throws of their own. Browning was 12-of-16 from the free throw line in the fourth quarter, while the Ponies were just 5-of-10, including going 2-of-6 in the last three minutes.
“Down the stretch in that game situation,” Kraske said. “We should not have put them on the foul line. We needed to get our hands off of them and play better defense, not because of lack of effort, but just to be a little bit sharper. The calls were very consistent start to finish and we just needed to understand that we needed to keep our hands off and move our feet.”
Overall the Blue Pony defense looked very good. They gave the Indians a man look, and applied plenty of pressure, forcing Browning into 22 total turnovers. HHS bounced in between full court pressure, as well as half court, contesting almost every shot and giving up very few easy looks. The Ponies defense also gave up very few second chance opportunities with 20 defensive rebounds. Paighton Gilman led with 13 defensive boards, including five in the second quarter.
“I was very happy with how we played,” Kraske said. “We played defense very well.”
And though the Ponies offense got off to a slow start, they began to find a groove in the second half. They were about 50 percent shooting in the third and just under that in the fourth.
Gilman also led the offense with 13 points, giving her a double-double with her 14 total rebounds. Jaclyn Evans and Peyton Filius followed with nine points a piece, and Christina Mack threw in four points.
“We worked quite a bit on defense this week,” Kraske said. “Well we spent a lot of time on defense and that meant we didn’t spend enough time on offense. That’s on me.”
The Ponies put forth good effort, but came up just short. And next up for the Ponies will be Conrad on the road Saturday night in Conrad.
Browning 46, Havre 40
Browning 13 9 8 16 – 46
Havre 6 5 15 14 – 40
Browning – Danille Madden 14, Marti Eaglefeathers 10, Shanelle Skunkcap 3, Jordan Weathermax 5, Shay Tatsey 5, Lynn Madplume 2, Kristen Rattler 2, Kailey Hall 5
Havre – Brandy Lambourne 2, Jaclyn Evans 9, Kassala Holdsclaw 2, Sammy Evans 1, Peyton Filius 9, Christina Mack 4, Paighton Gilman 13.