By Tiffany L. Rehbein
The Havre Blue Ponies will be looking for redemption when they hit the floor tonight against the District 2-B Chinook Sugarbeeters in a non-conference clash.
The Blue Ponies, who should be rested with Friday and Saturday off from play, will take on the Beeters, who are coming off a four-game winning streak.
Havre, 7-2, fell to Eastern AA C.M. Russell 42-31 at Great Falls Thursday, its first loss in seven games. The Ponies, who struggled in all aspects of the game against the Rustlers, will be looking to improve on a 2-of-13 free throw effort. They will also be looking to put some players in double figures.
At Great Falls, senior Tiffany Shrauger had a team-high nine points. The Ponies shot just 27 percent from the field.
Pre-CMR, junior Alyssa Matter had been turning in a strong offensive and defensive game. Matter had a team-high 13 points against non-conference Malta last weekend.
Matter leads the Blue Ponies with 65 total rebounds on the year.
Senior Erin Patera has posed a huge defensive threat for Havre. Patera notched eight points and nine rebounds against CMR.
Patera has grabbed 60 total rebounds for the Blue Ponies so far this season.
Sharing the point guard position with Matter in Havres up-tempo game, junior Nikki Baltrusch can push the ball up the court.
Baltrusch is second in the Central A in the assist category. She averages 7.7 assists per game.
Sophomore Jeri Matter, at 5-foot-10, should match up well with the Beeters inside.
Matter had a career-high 18 points against previously undefeated Browning more than one week ago.
Havres bench, behind sophomores Amy Ranes and Jayla McPherson, can come into the game and make some big plays for the Ponies, both on the boards and on the inside game.
Ranes leads the Ponies from the stripe, connecting on 4-of-4 free throws, good for 100 percent on the season.
However, Chinook, who returns eight letterwinners, cannot be overlooked.
They are playing really well together, head coach Dennis Murphy said about the Chinook team. They are playing well as a team and they work well together.
Chinook, 6-2 overall, turned on a 20-point fourth quarter Saturday to overcome Fort Benton at home 61-59.
Senior guard Katie Hoffman, who has shot consistently in double figures for the Beeters, tallied 13 points against the Longhorns.
Hoffman, sophomore Kelsie Whitney up front and Katie Malsam can all hit the three. Junior inside player Renda Birky put up some big numbers early in the season, but has been quiet lately.
Junior Lindsey Erskin scored a team-high 15 points Saturday, including three 3-pointers.
More than two weeks ago, Malta handed Chinook a 53-50 loss. Chinook has not lost a game since, going on to beat Harlem, Glasgow, Poplar and most recently Fort Benton.
They beat Glasgow, a team we beat in overtime; they lost to Malta by three; they beat Fort Benton in Fort Benton, Murphy said, so, if youre comparing scores, were pretty even.
Havre downed both Malta and Glasgow in overtime and Fort Benton at home.
Varsity tipoff is slated for 7:30 at the Havre High gymnasium.