Despite a tough conference loss on Friday, the Havre High girls basketball team was able to shake it off and return to action on Saturday.
And remaining at the Havre High gymnasium, the Central A Blue Ponies earned a conference win over the Livingston Rangers. The Ponies defeated the Rangers 46-32.
And after the Friday loss to Belgrade, and the win on Saturday, the Ponies move to 2-5 in the conference and 3-7 overall.
“I was just pleased with our kids’ efforts,” Havre High head coach Dustin Kraske said. “We have been preaching play hard and play smart, and I think it’s starting to finally come around. We faced some adversity last night (Friday), but didn’t come out and pout about it. We played with some urgency and picked up the conference win tonight (Saturday).”
HHS came out and looked very good early. After taking the 2-0 lead early in the first quarter, the Ponies never looked back, never losing the lead. Several times in the game the Rangers would crawl back within one, or would tie the game, but the Ponies kept their composure and eventually gained some ground on.
At the end of the first quarter the Ponies held a tight 6-4 lead. They were able to slightly stretch the lead to 17-14 at the half, but continued their efforts into a 28-23 third quarter lead. But in their biggest quarter of the night, the Ponies added 18 points to the board in the fourth to ensure the win.
“It felt really good to get this win,” Havre High senior Paighton Gilman said. “It has been a while. We were really excited and hopefully this will be the turning point of our season.”
The Ponies may have played their most complete game of the season Saturday.
On offense they were able to find the open player and they knocked down their shots. And on defense, the Ponies had their hands in the lanes and made things very difficult on the Rangers shooters. The HHS defense held Emily Fochs and Courttney Njordvik to a combined 10 points.
“I was pleased with our kids,” Kraske said. “I thought we defended well and we had our hands up on the shooters for the most part.”
And for the Pony offense, they got production from all over. Gilman had an outstanding game with 15 points to lead all scorers and Jaclyn Evans added 14 in one of her better games of the season. Kassala Holdsclaw also pitched in 10.
Gilman scored 11 of her 15 in the fourth quarter to help lead the Ponies to a 14-point win after leading by just five to end the third.
“I think this was a big win because it sets seeding in the conference,” Gilman said. “We could have been in sixth place and now we have a shot at fifth in the conference.”
On Thursday the Ponies will host Class AA Great Falls High and on Saturday HHS will make the trip to Great Falls to take on Class AA CMR.
Havre 46, Livingston 32
Livingston 4 10 9 9 — 32
Havre 6 11 11 18 — 46
Livingston — Emily Fochs 4, Broox Chandler 8, Courttney Njordvik 6, Macy Ricketts 2, Alyssa Cornell 2, Claire Meyer 10. Totals: 12 6-12.
Havre — Jaclyn Evans 14, Kassala Holdsclaw 10, Sammy Evans 1, Lacey Waid 2, Christina Mack 2, Paighton Gilman 15, Neya Bischoff 2. Totals: 15 12-17.