The Havre High girls basketball team was set to find itself up against two talented programs this weekend which have yet to really settle into a groove this season.
However, the Blue Ponies will likely only play once thanks to a vicious winter storm which is wreaking havoc across Montana.
Tonight, the league leading Central A Ponies (4-3, 3-0) were set to host the Browning Indians at the Havre High gymnasium at 7. That game has been postponed with no makeup date announced as of yet.
According to Havre High Activities Director Dennis Murphy, Havre's scheduled game at Conrad on Saturday afternoon was still a go as of Friday morning.
The Ponies were going to see a wide variety of looks over their next two days of competition, facing two very good, but different programs. But the important thing to head coach Dustin Kraske right now is his team continuing to improve.
“There is the potential to see a lot of different things,” Kraske said. “We are still focused on ourselves and still trying to get better. We need to play how we have practiced. We want to play 32 minutes of together basketball. We are striving to improve every day. That is what we expect, we want to play better this weekend than we did last weekend, and just look to get better.”
Conrad is another tough squad, but will come at the Ponies in slightly different manner.
The Cowgirls also house some standout athletes, and are solid team. They have struggled to keep their momentum after a win this season, but should still challenge HHS, especially at home. The Ponies have not had their best games playing in Conrad in recent history. The Cowgirls are a very physical team, but don’t do anything too drastic or surprising. Their biggest strength may come in the form of their half court defense, a very solid half court trap.
In either case, the Ponies are looking to continue to play at a very high level.
HHS is coming off of two very dominating wins over Shelby and Lewistown last weekend. But if there was ever a weekend for the Ponies to work on sticking to their own game plan, it would be this weekend. If the Ponies want to earn two more wins, they have to play to their own strengths, not get caught up in style or speed of the opposition.
It will be key for the Ponies to keep working on what coach Kraske called the little things. The Ponies will look to rebound well on offense and defense, as well as keep the turnovers to a minimum. On offense, working for the best possible shot is also crucial, as that is what the Ponies have thrived on this season. They are a high-tempo team themselves, but if the bucket isn’t there in transition inside with Haley Ohm or Neya Bischoff, the Ponies will lean on the outside and penetrating presence of Brandy Lambourne, Peyton Filius, and Morgan Mazurkiewicz.
This execution will be magnified against the conference rival Indians, as the Ponies have the opportunity to earn another big and statement win. With the tempo of the game the Ponies should expect to get more possessions than they typically would, opening the door for the possibility of a big offensive night if they can knock down shots at a high level.
“We need to keep making the appropriate passes and not get caught running up and down, up and down with Browning,” Kraske said. “We need to play at our pace and within what we are trying to do.”
If the HHS defense can remain consistent, there shouldn’t be any concern there this weekend. The Blue Ponies held the last two teams they faced to just a combined 42 points.
HHS postponed game with Browning will be made up later this winter. Saturday, the Ponies will face the Cowgirls in Conrad at 4 p.m.