Both the Havre High boys and girls basketball teams are coming off of much needed conference wins in their last outing, but playing their last game before the holiday break, the Blue Ponies have a pretty tough nonconference opponent to get by first.
Last weekend, both the boys and girls earned conference wins. The HHS girls defeated Lewistown and Belgrade, while the HHS boys defeated Belgrade in Central A play. Now entering non conference play once again, the HHS girls are 2-2 and the boys are 1-4.
Blue Pony girls are in Great Falls where they will take on the Class AA Bison. And tonight at 7 at the Havre High gymnasium, the Pony boys will host the Bison.
In boys action, the Havre defense is going to have some tough matchups. The Bison enter the matchup 1-4 on the season, but have a talented squad that make some noise if able to get off and running. In their one win over Helena High, the Bison jumped out to a huge first quarter lead, racking up double digit points in the first eight minutes.
Defense will be key for the Ponies, espeacially from Rydell Ruff , Kade Rismon and Thurman Holdsclaw down low. They will have their hands full with Austin Young and 6-7 freshmen Henry Garrett. Young recorded a double-double in his last outing, grabbing 10-points and 12 rebounds. Jace Anderegg,, Dylan Swandal, Skyke Smalls and Dylan Tatarka will also keep the Ponies busy. Smalls is coming off of a 19-point outing and Tatarka is coming off of a 16-point outing. Tatarka is the younger brother of Montana State University-Northern senior guard Shaun Tatarka.
HHS can’t get caught in a shootout, but they still have to get solid production from Brandon Smith and Ryan Brandt. They are the leading scorers, but getting help from the likes of Holdsclaw, Ruff and Rismon would give the Ponies a boost.
The Ponies have found success in their pressure defense this season, forcing a good amount of turnovers. If they can take care of the ball themselves, as well as keep forcing them, the Ponies will remain competitive against a tough Bison team.
Tonight's game in Havre also marks the battle for the Ole' Giat Trophy.
In girls’ action, the Ponies face the Bison on the road, making a tough matchup even tougher.
Entering tonight’s action 2-2, and winning two straight, the Ponies have put together a nice stretch of basketball. They have matched up a great balanced offense with a high tempo full court defense that has left the opposition trying to keep up.
The Bison are 2-3 this season, dropping two straight. They have struggled the last couple of seasons, and when they held a 2-1 record weeks prior, it was the first time over .500 since the 2009-2010 season.
Sammy Evans has stepped up huge for the Ponies this season, finding ways to score in the paint. Brandy Lambourne and Chanal Standing Rock have also stepped their defense to lead the Ponies from the guard positions. But on defense, Neya Bischoff is coming off of a breakout game and her play down low could come into play once again tonight.
And though they still struggle to find a winning season, the Bison still have some weapons, Katie Schermele and Markaela Francis seem to have been leading the way thus far, but Katie Dolan and Kelsey Devlin give the Bison an extra edge the Ponies will attempt to cover.
Defense will be key for both the HHS boys and girls tonight. If they can slow down the Bison’s production as well as find some of their own, both HHS squads could find a non conference win tonight.
Tonight the Pony girls will face the Bison in Great Falls, while at 7 p.m. the Pony boys will host the Bison at the Havre High gymnasium.