By Tiffany L. Rehbein
Its the week of Class B for the Havre Blue Ponies girls basketball squad.
Friday, the girls travel to Fort Benton to take on the District 1-B Longhorns and they will return to the Blue Pony Corral Saturday to play the District 2-B Glasgow Scotties.
The Blue Ponies, 8-2 overall, downed the District 2-B Chinook Sugarbeeters 49-40 at home Tuesday.
Nikki Baltrusch, Erin Patera and Amy Ranes tallied 10 points apiece to lead a balanced Pony offensive attack.
The last time Havre met Fort Benton, the Blue Ponies were victorious, downing the Longhorns, 58-45.
Fort Benton, 4-3 in conference play and 4-5 overall, whose strength is at the guard position, put junior Brittany Smith into double figures with 10 points when the two teams met earlier this season.
Senior Tiffany Shrauger led the Blue Pony attack with a team-high 17 points in the victory.
However, each Longhorn proved she can score, when nine-of-10 players notched points in the last matchup.
Tara Buck, Nicole Plant and Kyle Cook each nailed a 3-pointer the last time around for the Longhorns.
Im really impressed with their team speed, head coach Dennis Murphy said. They can come down the floor. We gave up a lot of transition points to CMR. We cant give up transition points Friday.
CMR handed Havre its first loss in seven games one week ago when the Rustlers downed the Blue Ponies 42-31 at Great Falls.
Playing at their place will be difficult, Murphy said about Fort Benton. That will be a tough challenge for us.
The Blue Ponies won their first overtime game 49-45 against Glasgow the last time the two teams met.
At that time, the Ponies proved they could step up and respond in stressful, extra-minute play.
Jennie Strommen had a game-high 17 points to lead the Scotties in the overtime game.
We cant have Strommen go up like that again, Murphy said. Weve got to shut her outside game down.
Tanya Bergren worked the inside for Glasgow, scoring nine points for the Scotties.
We did a good job with Bergren on the inside, Murphy said. We need to do the same kind of thing.
At Glasgow, Shrauger notched 11 points while Baltrusch and Patera chipped in 10 points apiece to lead the Ponies.
Shrauger is ranked second in the Central A in 3-pointers made, nailing 16 so far on the season. She is ranked seventh in 3-point percentage. She is ranked sixth in free throw percentage in the division, with a 71.7 percent. She is also fifth in the division in scoring, averaging 13.9 points per game.
Junior Alyssa Matter is ranked eighth in the Central A in field goal percentage, shooting just below 50 percent. Matter is ranked eighth in scoring, averaging 12.7 points per game.
Defensively, Matter is sixth in the division, averaging 7.2 rebounds per game, while Patera is ninth in the division, averaging 6.7 per game.
Baltrusch stands second in the Central A, averaging 7.7 assists per game.
Murphy worked on team depth Tuesday, starting two different players, Ranes and junior Sam Velk. Velk chipped in nine points against Chinook.
I was really pleased with those two young ladies coming in and responding well to their start, Murphy said.
Tip-off both nights is slated for 7:30 p.m.