The Belgrade Panthers are a tough team, but when they are executing their pressure defense the way they did on Friday, they are almost unstoppable.
Friday night at the Havre High gymnasium, the Havre Hihg girls played host to the Panthers in Central A play. But it was the Panthers who recorded the 55-28 win in front of Havre fans.
The Panther defense played the biggest role in their win and Ponies loss. HHS struggled to get the offense going. The Ponies were held to six first quarter points, but managed nine in the second and 11 in the third. But in the fourth quarter the struggles continued and the Ponies were held to just two points on their way to the 27-point loss.
“We really struggled,” Havre High head coach Dustin Kraske said. “Belgrade had a lot to do with that, their pressure really bothered us and we are going to have to do a better job of working against that. We had more offensive woes than anything because we turned the ball over so much.”
On the night, the Ponies turned the ball over 27 times. And as a result, the Panthers were able to rack up 24 points off the Blue Pony mishaps.
“We needed to come in here and put some pressure on them and get ourselves some easy looks,” Belgrade head coach Shanna Smith said. “We haven’t been shooting a great percentage so it was important to us to put some pressure on them and get those easy looks and gain some confidence. That was the difference in the game I think.”
But on Friday, the Panthers shot very well. In the first half they shot over 33 percent, while increasing their percentage to over 44 in the second half. And from three, they were 7-of-18 on the night for 38 percent behind the arc.
“Belgrade played awful well and shot awful well,” Kraske said.
The Pony offense was able to put up 28 points, but they were hard earned. On the night the Ponies took just 39 shots, to the Panthers 59. The Ponies did shoot over 30 percent on the night, but went 0-of-8 from three. Paighton Gilman led the Ponies with 15 points, but to follow, Kassala Holdsclaw added four.
Belgrade 55, Havre 28
Belgrade 17 5 21 12 — 55
Havre 6 9 11 2 — 28
Belgrade — Annie Prickett 5, Justine Taylor 8, Angie Schmit 5, Leighton Hirsh 3, Morgan Wandler 1, Kalley Ruff 5, Dylan Fowler 7, Amanda Hayden 12, Lindsey Halgren 9. Totals: 21 6-12.
Havre — Jaclyn Evans 2, Kassala Holdsclaw 4, Sammy Evans 3, Peyton Filius 2, Christina Mack 2, Paighton Gilman 15. Totals: 12 4-9.