It was a neck-and-neck race for four quarters, but as they always do, turnovers proved to be the biggest difference between winning and losing for the Havre High girls basketball team.
The Central A Blue Ponies fell to 2-3 overall on Thursday night, suffering a 46-43 loss to the Class AA Great Falls High Bison. The Ponies hosted the Bison at the Havre High gymnasium, but couldn’t hold out for a win after a very physical and fast Bison defense forced the Havre offense to commit 24 turnovers.
With just 1:39 left in the game, the Bison led the Ponies 43-39, but the Ponies turned on the full-court press in an attempt to make a run and grab the win. They quickly got within two, trailing 43-41, but then saw the effects of turnovers. HHS gave the ball away on two consecutive possessions, and Great Falls quickly jumped back out in the lead 45-41. Peyton Filius hit a two-point field goal with just under five seconds left to play, but the Bison escaped with the three-point win.
“It was a really physical game,” Havre High head coach Dustin Kraske said. “And we didn’t handle it as well as we probably could have, but we will learn from that and get better. It was too many turnovers, but the nice thing about this game, is that it will give us video on what we can do better.”
The Ponies showed that if they can keep the ball, they can be a very explosive team this season.
To start the game, the Ponies turned the ball over eight times in the first frame. But when they could find a shot against the stiff Bison defense, the Blue Ponies went 5-for-5 from the field, and didn’t miss a shot until the 2:23 mark. HHS led 14-13 after the first quarter and 25-23 at the half. But as the game progressed, the hot shooting by the Ponies was continuously interrupted by key turnovers. HHS scored just five points in the third quarter, while both teams put up 13 in the final frame.
Peyton Filius led the Ponies with 14 points and Brandy Lambourne followed closely with 10 of her own. Lacey Waid added six.
The Ponies run an up-tempo style, making some turnovers seeming inevitable, but the GFH defense played very well. The Bison press gave the Ponies fits, and forced the Ponies to settle for outside shots. But the Ponies also showcased their tough defensive pressure, and really kept themselves in contention at times with key stops of their own.
But moving forward the Ponies are looking keep pushing for a complete game, combining great defense with consistent offense.
“The defense played very hard and took care of business,” Kraske said. “But offensively, we need to be more sure in what we are doing. We have very good offensive players, but we are trying to give them freedom to do some things, but with that comes some growing pains. Great Falls is a nice team, but I was proud of our kids. I know we would feel better if we won, but our kids are playing hard and representing our school very well. I couldn’t be more happy with our team right now in the season.”
The Ponies won’t be back in action until Jan. 4- 5. The Ponies will face Lewistown on the road on Jan. 4, and will host Shelby on Jan. 5.
Great Falls 46, Blue Ponies 43
Great Falls 13 10 10 13 — 46
Havre 14 11 5 13 — 43
Great Falls — Liz Klinker 4, Nora Klick 2, Markaela Francis 10, Taylor Kumm 4, Jessica Keller 8, Kelsey Devlin 10, Callee Remsen 8.
Havre — Brandy Lambourne 10, Morgan Mazurkiewicz 5, Lacey Waid 6, Peyton Filius 14, Tori Mazurkiewicz 4, Neya Bischoff 4.