By Tiffany L. Rehbein
It will be the best of the best this weekend for Havre.
The Central A leader Blue Ponies face the No. 2-ranked Browning Indians at the Blue Pony Corral Friday in an end-of-the-season battle.
I think its obviously going to be a tremendous basketball game, said head coach Dennis Murphy. Im sure theyll be ready to play some ball.
Havre (12-3) traveled to Browning (12-2) Sept. 24, and handed the Indians their first loss of the season in a 58-47 victory.
Sophomore Jeri Matter led the Ponies with a season-high 18 points in the matchup.
Junior Alyssa Matter tallied 13 points, including two 3-pointers, while seniors Tiffany Shrauger and Erin Patera each added 11 in the contest.
Brownings greatest strength can be found in 5-foot-11 sophomore Laura Jo Kipp.
Kipp leads the Central A in scoring, rebounding, and field goal percentage. Kipp tallied 19 points against the Havre defense when the two teams met earlier this season.
Theyre by far the tallest team weve faced this season, Murphy said. Weve got to keep them out of their offense. Theyre able to get the ball down the floor. We want to try to disrupt that tempo.
Browning leads the Central A in scoring, averaging 60.6 points offensively. Havre averages 51.4 points per game.
The Blue Ponies held the Indians to their lowest offensive effort in the last matchup.
The categories that Kipp does not dominate, teammate Kristin Madman steps in. Madman leads the league in steals, with 63, and 3-point field goals made, with 24.
Junior Blue Pony Nikki Baltrusch leads the division with 103 assists on the season. Madman is No. 2 with 94.
Our big game is Friday night as far as conference seeding points go, Murphy said.
Alyssa Matter leads the Blue Pony scoring, with 163 total points on the year. Matter also leads the Ponies in rebounding and field goal percentage.
Shrauger in No. 10 in the division in 3-point percentage. She is ninth in free throw percentage and sixth in 3-pointers made.
The Blue Ponies have won two-straight games since falling to Central A Lewistown two weeks ago.
Tuesday, the Ponies traveled to Chinook and came away with a 54-43 non-conference victory.
Shrauger had a game-high 15 in the contest, and went 5-of-6 from the free throw line.
Baltrusch and Jeri Matter chipped in 13 points each for the Ponies.
Saturday, the Ponies travel to Malta to take on the District 2-B leader M-ettes.
Malta (7-0, 13-1) has not lost a home game since the two teams met last year in the new Malta gymnasium.
Malta has tasted the bitterness of losing only once this season; at the feet of the Blue Ponies.
This will be our third game in three days, Murphy said. It will be great tester for us because its more like a tournament-type approach in the season.
At Havre, the Ponies won a 47-46 overtime victory from the free throw line. The Ponies went 10-of-18 from the line, but scored its only three points of the overtime with free shots.
Patera and Jeri Matter nailed the crucial shots to sew up the victory.
Theyre going to be ready to face us, Murphy said. With the quality of their players, we look forward to playing them. Theyll be hungry. It will be the same type of situation we might see in Lewistown (at the divisional tournament). It will be good to see how our kids respond to that type of atmosphere.
Tip-off both nights is slated for 7:30 p.m.