The ups and downs continued for the Havre High boys basketball team this weekend.
Hosting two conference rivals, the Central A Blue Ponies earned a split at the Havre High gymnasium. HHS suffered a very tough loss on Friday, but bounced back on Saturday to earn win, looking like a completely different squad.
On Friday, the Belgrade Panthers defeated the Ponies 51-36. But on Saturday, the Ponies turned things around and defeated the Livingston Rangers 62-52.
Friday’s loss was tough for the Ponies to swallow. They didn’t play very well on either side of the ball and the Panthers took full advantage. HHS let the Panthers shoot from outside earlier in the season, but that backfired. The plan was to force the Panthers to put the ball on the floor this time around, but with so many athletes on the floor at all times, the Panthers offense wasn’t slowed down.
“It is tough to stop the outside shooting because they are a team that can shoot and penetrate,” Havre High head coach Curt Leeds said. “They have some athletic boys, but I think the major thing was that our boys didn’t play together as a team.”
After a solid start, trailing just 11-9 after the first quarter, the Ponies couldn’t keep pace. Belgrade ran away with the game with 18 in the second quarter, 15 in the third, and seven in the fourth. HHS had a decent third quarter with 15 points, but could never get on the same page long enough to make a serious run. Dane Warp led the Ponies with 17 points.
But HHS bounced back on Saturday, and played very well against the Rangers, a team that beat the Ponies earlier in the season.
This time around the Ponies simply played very well in all aspects of the game. On defense the Ponies allowed 21 points by big man Marcus Payne, but shut everybody else down. Payne is one of the more talented big men in the Class A and was somewhat of a handful inside.
But on offense, the Ponies found a groove and settled in. Warp led the Ponies with a game-high 22 points, while Kade Risman also added 12, and Ramsey Drew was good for another 11. Thurman Holdsclaw also finished with seven, while Nate Rismon scored six on two 3-pointers.
“We just have to focus more on taking care of the ball and knock down our free throws,” Warp said. “They were overplaying us, but my teammates setting screens really helped me score. And I would say every win for us is a big win right now, they help our confidence a lot.
“How the kids responded from yesterday (Friday) was tremendous,” Coach Leeds added. “Not many kids can do that after a game like that. I give it to my kids, they played their hearts out, and played together, that is the best part. I hope they get a good taste for what that feels like.”
The Ponies also forced 20 turnovers on defense, while the aggressive offense sent to the foul line 17 times, knocking down 12 of those attempts for a 70 percent average. HHS also hit six treys, showing their guards are starting to buy into the inside-out concept.
The Ponies continue to show constant growth. And now the Ponies will get two non-conference opportunities to keep improving, as they host the GFH Bison on Thursday and face the CMR Rustlers in Great Falls on Saturday. Tip off on Thursday is at 7 p.m.
Belgrade 51, Havre 36
Belgrade 11 18 15 7 – 51
Havre 9 7 15 5 – 36
Belgrade – Jeremy Ragar 2, Ryan Townsend 11, Jered Bryant 8, Brandon Karnath 7, Shiloh Christopher 5, Trevor Mahn 18.
Havre – Nate Rismon 3, Dane Warp 17, Brian Smith 1, Ramsey Drew 2, Thurman Holdsclaw 5, Kade Rismon 8.
Havre 62, Livingston 52
Livingston – Caleb Gable 4, Nick Bragg 6, Ladan Ricketts 8, Jesse Darr 7, Daniel Fowlie 6, Marcus Payne 21.
Havre – Kody Hickman 2, Nate Rismon 6, Dane Warp 22, Ramsey Drew 11, Thurman Holdsclaw 7, Kade Rismon 12, Jase Kato 2.