With the regular season winding down, every game seems to hold more and more importance. And with five games left on the schedule, three of which that are conference games, the Havre High boys basketball team has the confidence that they can make a run at the No. 1 spot.
The Blue Ponies sit in between the Lewistown Golden Eagles and Butte Central Maroons in the No. 3 spot. Havre is 4-3 in the Central A, while the Maroons are 4-2 and Lewistown is 2-2. And if the Ponies want to maintain their positioning as well as keep moving up, they have to find a way to win this weekend as well as the rest of the season.
Tonight in Lewistown, the Ponies will face the Eagles at 7 p.m. And on Saturday, the Ponies will host the Maroons at 5 p.m. at Havre Central.
will host the Maroons at 5 p.m. at Havre Central.
“This is how close it is,” Havre High head coach Andy Smith said. “It’s one of those things were we could fall as low as the fifth seed or possibly move up into the first seed. But it’s not just these next two; it’s our final three conference games. It’s wide open and we are jockeying for position right now. We can really make up some ground and this is going to be a big weekend for us.”
But neither game will be an easy one.
In their first meeting, the Ponies edged out the Eagles 44-42 in Havre. And in Butte, the Maroons defeated the Ponies 53-36.
Both the Eagles and Maroons will show the Ponies a tough man to man defensive front. But while they will both be in man, they have different objectives. Lewistown seems to be more worried about dribble penetration and less about the perimeter. And Butte, they seem to be more worried about the perimeter and less about dribble penetration.
“We aren’t going to see a lot of full court or half court press from either team,” Smith said. “They both just play real solid man to man defense and both have some really good athletes.”
Facing the Eagles, Logan Connor, Brandon Smith and Ryan Brandt could all have big games from behind the three-point line. But against the Maroons, Drew Kafka and Anfernees Standing Rock could find their production increase with their inside games.
Saturday's game with Butte Central will especvially tough with 6-7 cousins Jonathon and Aschan Richards leading the Maroon.
Either way, it’s going to take big time effort from the Ponies to come away victorious in both situations.
Tonight the Ponies will face the Eagles in Lewistown at 7 p.m. and Saturday, the Ponies will host the Maroons at Havre Central at 5 p.m.