The Havre High girls basketball team knew it had two tough opponents waiting this weekend, and that is exactly what the Blue Ponies got as they opened a new season with two non-conference games on the road.
Unfortunately, the defending Central A champio Ponies lost to a Class B powerhouse on Friday night, as well as to a Class AA powerhouse on Saturday, both on the road.
HHS opened the season on Friday, but was defeated 47-44 by the Malta M-Ettes in Malta. And on Saturday, playing in Great Falls, the CMR Rustlers defeated the Ponies 52-48 in overtime. It is still early, but the Ponies are now 0-2 on the season.
“I think in both cases, the other team made some big plays and we didn’t,” Havre High head coach Dustin Kraske said. “But we can learn from this weekend and get better for next week. It was nice that we played these two good teams and were able to work out the kinks, but it gave us a chance to see what we do well and don’t do well.”
The M-Ettes used a big second half push to get past the Ponies.
The Blue Ponies led 21-17 at the half in Malta, mostly because a big, 17-point first quarter. Malta was held to single digit scoring in the first two frames, but gained some momentum in the final 16 minutes.
“Malta ran a 2-3 zone, and we struggled against it,” Kraske said. “We didn’t make the open shots, and we didn’t get teammates shots, little things like that.”
The Ponies put up 13 points in the third quarter, and held a slim, 34-29 advantage. But the Pony defense wasn’t able to hold the Malta offense down for the complete four quarters, as the M-Ettes racked up 18 points in the fourth, and earned the three-point victory.
Peyton Filius helped the Ponies with 10 points, while Hayley Ohm also kicked in nine points. Neya Bischoff had a great first game in the post, and led the Ponies with 15 points.
Brenna King and Jayla Graham hurt the Ponies the most as they combined for 27 points.
Remaining on the road on Saturday, the Ponies suffered an even tougher loss, as the Rustlers used one overtime period to sneak past the Ponies.
Havre held a two-point lead with time winding down. But leading 44-42, CMR’s Dieondra Denton was able to work her way into the paint and score a layup as time ran out in regulation. In overtime, the Pony offense hit a wall, as the Rustlers outscored the Ponies 8-4. Denton had a critical bucket in overtime as well, as the Ponies standout game turned into a tough loss.
The Ponies trailed 8-6 early, and trailed 20-17 at intermission. But in the second half, the Ponies used a 16-point third quarter to turn the tables. They added 11 in the fourth quarter, but CMR’s 12-point fourth gave the Rustlers just what they needed to edge out the Ponies in non-conference play.
Rebounding was a big advantage for the Rustlers as they brought in 52 boards to 27 by HHS. Filius led the Ponies with six, while Denton grabbed 13 for the Rustlers. The Ponies did come up with seven steals, but turned the ball over 13 times. CMR had 22 turnovers.
Filius paced the Ponies with 12 points, and Morgan Mazurkiewicz scored 11, while Brandy Lambourne scored 10. Bishcoff followed her 15-point outing on Friday with seven more points on Saturday. Lambourne also led the Ponies with two 3-pointers.
“I thought that we played very well overall down in Great Falls,” Kraske said. “Could we have played better, sure we could have, but we were pleased. It isn’t nice to be 0-2, but we will watch some film and our kids can use this weekend as a learning tool. This next week is big for us, so we will move on pretty quick and continue to strive to get better.”
There is nothing for fans or players to panic about, as non-conference games a merely building tools for the Ponies. Now HHS will look for two wins this weekend as they face Belgrade and Livingston on the road on Friday and Saturday, respectively. Both games are Central A clashes.
HHS makes its home debut Dec. 20 against the GFH Bison.
Malta 47, Havre 44
Havre 13 8 13 10 – 44
Malta 8 9 12 18 – 47
Havre — Brandy Lamboure 2, Morgan Mazerkiewiez 7, Peyton Fillius 10, Tori Mazerkiewiez 1, Haley Ohm 9, Neya Bischoff 15.
Malta — Courtney Henry 4, Hailey Nicholson 9, Jayla Graham 12, Mercedes Stiles 7, Brenna King 15.
CMR 52, Havre 48 (OT)
Havre 6 11 16 11 4 — 48
CMR 8 12 10 12 8 — 52
Havre — Brandy Lambourne 10, Morgan Mazurkiewicz 11, Lacey Waid 4, Peyton Filius 12, Tori Mazurkiewicz 4, Neya Bischoff 7
CMR — Ashlee Atchison 2, Kristen Kaste 2, Taylor Edwards 16, Maggie Reilly 5, Dieondra Denton 10, Hannah Vining 13, Maddy Watkins 4.