Heading into Friday night’s game, the Havre Blue Pony boys had spent a lot of time preparing for the conference rival Browning Indians. But even with the prep time, the Indians' pressure proved to be too much.
Friday at the Havre High gymnasium the Ponies hosted the Indians in Central A action. But in a dominant win, the Indians defeated the Ponies 70-48.
The big difference in the conference matchup was the Indians’ pressure defense and high-tempo style of play.
“It’s one of those deals where if you make mistakes anywhere else on the floor it’s fine,” Havre High head coach Andy Smith said. “But with their full-court pressure, when you make mistakes it results in points. They are easy transition buckets, so it’s like it hurts you double. You make the mistake and it converts into points for them.”
The Indians got off to a very fast start, taking a 23-12 lead after the first eight minutes. And at the halfway mark, the Indians maintained a 40-26 lead. Browning then went on to score 13 points in the third and 17 in the fourth to fend off any Pony surges.
There were several times throughout the game where the Ponies would crawl back within seven or so points. But the Indians would sharply snap back and end any HHS threat with a big shot or transition bucket.
In the third quarter the Ponies narrowed the gap to 40-33, but the Indians ran away with the game as HHS was later held to just seven fourth-quarter points.
“We tried to practice it, ” Smith said. “But it’s hard to simulate their game speed. They are athletic and quick and cover a lot of ground quick. There were times when the passing lanes looked open and boom they (Browning) are there. They just cover a lot of court and nothing is easy.”
In the game the Indians had shot very well and knocked down seven 3-pointers. They also got to the free-throw-line several times in the game, knocking down 9-of-15.
“They shot the ball extremely well,” Smith said. “They are awfully tough to defend, you worry so much about dribble penetration and about protecting the perimeter. They are dangerous.”
Anfernee Standing Rock led the Ponies with 19 points and Logan Connor followed with 13. But they were the only two in double figures, while Ryan Brandt added five and Drew Kafka, Brandon Smith and Ryan Myers combined for 11 points.
With the conference loss the Ponies dropped to 2-3 in the Central A.
Browning 70, Havre 48
Browning — Cliff Ollinger 2, DeeJay Lazyboy 20, Gary Monroe 7, Glenn Hall 2, Charles Oldchief 12, Josiah Davis 14, Jay Bird 2, Jon Hall 7, Jon Skunkcap 2
Havre — Anfernee Standing Rock 19, Logan Connor 13, Ryan Myers 4, Ryan Brandt 5, Corderro Strickland 2, Brandon Smith 3, Drew Kafka 2.