As far as wins go, it hasn’t been the most productive start to the season for the Havre High boys basketball team. But as the young team continues to take the right steps forward, and continues to grow and get better, the Blue Ponies enter the new year knowing they could earn their first win.
The Central A Blue Ponies started the season 0-5, including an 0-2 start to their conference schedule. But their next two opponents have a combined 1-10 record, and coming out of a very productive break, the Ponies could come away with one, or even two wins.
Tonight, the Ponies will host the 1-4 conference rival Lewistown Golden Eagles at the Havre High gymnasium at 7. And on Saturday, the Ponies will take to the road to face the 0-6 Class B Shelby Coyotes in Shelby. This will be the first time HHS first year head coach Curt Leeds faces the Coyotes since leaving their program.
“It is going to be fun,” Leeds said. “But it is also going to be competitive. Coach (Tom) Reynolds (Shelby head coach) is out to win and we are too. But I think really, both games are huge this weekend. We can build some confidence and these are two games that we can win. That would be huge momentum for us going into the remainder of our season.”
Over the last two weeks of practice, the Ponies were able to make some necessary adjustments to the offense and defense.
Leeds added a couple of new offensive sets, while also adding a new zone defense to their bag of tricks. The tweaking of the offense will hopefully give the Ponies a more consistent scoring attack against both of the struggling Eagles and Coyotes, improving both ball and player movement while running their signature motion offense.
The better the offense is executed, the more success Dane Warp, Thurman Holdsclaw, and Kade Rismon will have inside. And because of that, things should open up more for guards like Nate Rismon, Ramsey Drew, and Brian Smith shooting from outside.
Warp is currently leading the Ponies with more than 15 points per game. Rismon and Holdsclaw are combining for nearly 16 points per game.
Both the Coyotes and Eagles are young this season, and somewhat of a mystery to the Ponies. They always house talented players, but how they attack HHS is still yet to be determined. The Eagles are led by the likes of Dylan Stenseth, Andy Butcher and Morgan Ray, all double-digit scoring threats, while the Coyotes always get solid production from Bradley Fretheim, Ryan Clark, and Jourdyn Heydon.
“We are focusing on us still,” Leeds said. “The first time we play teams is a learning experience for the players as well as me. But we tweaked how we set up our motion offense a bit. And we wanted to make our man defense more effective, as well as add another zone defense so that we can mix things up and change the pace a little bit.”
Leeds is confident his Ponies can find their first, and maybe even second wins of the season this weekend. HHS has taken steady steps forward already, and could use some much needed momentum heading into the remainder of the regular season schedule.
HHS will host Lewistown tonight at 7, and will face Shelby on the road on Saturday at 5:30 p.m.