On Friday night, the Havre High boys basketball team was hoping to leave their senior’s legacies at Havre High with a victory.
And the Blue Ponies did just that with a commanding 56-40 win over the Conrad Cowboys at the HHS gymnasium.
Havre High head coach Andy Smith said he will always remember this group of seniors.
"They were always a great group of kids, they always came back to battle and compete and work to get better every day,” Smith said. “They were unselfish, and I couldnt have been more proud of how they played tonight."
Seniors Ryan Brandt, Rydell Ruff, Justin Jensen, Tyson Kultgen, Logon Connor, and Trey Trahant each have their favorite memories playing for Havre High, including Trahant, who said that tryouts and getting to work hard to get better every day are things he’ll take away form his experience with the Blue Ponies.
Friday was also the season debut of senior Logon Connor who has been out all season due to a knee injury he suffered early in the summer.
After the seniors were finished being introduced with their parents the game was finally under way and the Ponies did not have the start they were looking for and hoping for. The Ponies went down 9-0 early and Jensen finally got the Ponies on the scoreboard by making a 3-point shot 4:45 into the game. The Pony boys fought back however and tied the game 13-13 going into the second quarter.
The second quarter was very similar to the first, in which it took the ponies 4:30 to make their first shot. Luckily, their defense played strong and Conrad's only points in the quarter were three free throws. Being down 16-15, HHS senior Brandon Smith finally gave the Ponies the lead by sinking a 3-pointer, and the ponies never looked back. The Ponies went into halftime leading 20-16.
The second half was far different than the first.
Havre came out with a lot of fire and got on the scoreboard early and often coming out with a 9-2 run.
"We came out with full court pressure, which forced turnovers leading to early baskets," Coach Smith said.
HHS put pressure on Conrad forcing the Cowboys to make early mistakes and the Ponies capitalized. The Ponies continued to put pressure on Conrad and ended the third quarter up 41-20.
The fourth and final quarter was much the same as the third, and the Pony seniors would leave their final game at home on a high note.
Brandon Smith led the Ponies with a season-high 20 points. And although Ryan Brandt scored only three points which is low compared to his average of 11points per game, Brandt moved the ball around well and had eight assists on the night. In his debut Connor scored three points. Kade Rismon and Thurman Holdsclaw also came up big for the Ponies, scoring 12 and 10, respectively.
"Being our last home game of the season, it was nice to see the kids come out and play as well as they did," Coach Smith said. "I thought we played with much better energy, and every kid that we put in the game found a way to contribute to the win. The kids were deserving of this win because they have been a great bunch all year, and they really came back strong after the weekend we had last weekend."
The Ponies will put the finishing touches on the regular season when they travel to Browning Friday night for a game against the top-ranked Browning Indians.
Havre 56, Conrad 40
Conrad 13 3 4 20 — 40
Havre 13 7 21 15 — 56
Conrad — Devin VandenBos 10, Cameron Janzen 9, Kesler Martin 1, Clay Winters 5, Shane Larson 2, Ben Moerkerke 13. Totals 14 10-18.
Havre — Logan Connor 3, Ryan Brandt 3, Trey Trahant 3, Rydell Ruff 2, Justin Jensen 3, Brandon Smith 20, Thurman Holdsclaw 10, Kade Rismon 12. Totals 21 9-15.
Total fouls: Conrad 17, Havre 17. Fouled out: none. Technical fouls: none. 3-point fieldgoals: Janzen, Winters, Connor, Trahant, Jensen, Smith