Tonight’s game is a special one for the Havre High School boys basketball team, as it also marks senior night.
Tonight at 7, the Central A Blue Ponies will play their last game of the season in the Havre High gymnasium. And for Brandon Smith, Ryan Brandt, Tyson Kultgen, Justin Jensen, Logan Connor, Tray Trahant and Rydell Ruff, this will be their last game ever at the Havre High gymnasium.
“I think they are all going to want to perform well at their last game at Havre High,” head coach Andy Smith said. “They want to got out with a win.”
Smith and Brandt have led the Ponies all season long, on offense especially, but it has been a team effort that has made the Ponies successful. Smith has averaged 13 points per game and Brandt has averaged 11. But this special group of seniors have all done their part.
“All of them have found ways to contribute,” Smith said. “The biggest thing about our seniors is that they have all been coachable. I would say they have been a great group to be around, and it has been really, really nice to coach them. They all do well in the classroom as well, and are all very respectable.”
Kultgen gets minutes off the bench, and first-year player Jensen, has made his biggest impact on defense, working his way into the starting lineup.
And more importantly, while the Ponies have rode the ups and downs of this season, the seniors have been the anchor all year long.
“On offense especially,” Smith said. “Things have gone up and down this year. But the thing is, these kids come in every week not dwelling on previous games and they are ready to move on. They make our team better and they understand a lot can happen in a season and they have stayed the course.”
Connor, unfortunately, hasn’t played all season long.
He is an All-State caliber player who averaged 18 points per game as a junior a year ago, and was set to lead the Ponies this year. He took part in several camps and tournaments over the summer, and was at the top of his high school career. But a knee injury just weeks before school started sidelined Connor for the football and basketball seasons.
“My heart goes out to Logan,” Smith said. “There wasn’t a camp he didn’t try to get into this summer, or a tournament he didn’t want to play in. He really worked hard at his game and put in a lot of extra time this summer to have a great senior year. To have a kid that has that kind of love for the game, and is that big of competitor, it is hard to see him sit out like that. I don’t know how many times he has looked at me this year on the bench and said ‘put me in coach.’ It has killed him to not be able to play.”
The Blue Pony seniors will look to exit their home careers with a win tonight at 7 against Conrad at the Havre High gymnasium.