GREAT FALLS — Over the weekend, the Havre High girls basketball team gave fans, and myself something great to be a part of.
The Blue Ponies won their second consecutive Central A basketball title on Saturday night, as they dismantled the Browning Indians in Great Falls. Playing in the CMR Fieldhouse, the Ponies won 69-42, following the regular season title they also clinched for the second straight season last weekend when they beat the Indians in Browning.
But the great thing about this last win, in my opinion, the Ponies displayed the best level of basketball I think fans have seen out of them in years.
No matter how you look at it, the Ponies played a great game in Saturday’s win. Yes, things could have been better, but they outplayed the completion on every level.
The Indians still rebounded very well on the offensive end, they always do, and the Ponies may have turned the ball over slightly too much, a side effect of a high-tempo offense, but overall I still enjoyed watching them dominate a conference opponent on such a big stage.
During the season, the Ponies struggled with a few things on a regular basis. Those areas of concern seamed to disappear on Saturday. They were extremely fun to watch.
The Ponies overcame their sometimes slow offensive start. Their defense was as stiff as ever, and the offensive production came from all over the Pony lineup.
Brandy Lambourne and Peyton Filius didn’t just get their points and lead the way. Lambourne also had 10 assists and helped get a slew of other scorers involved as well. Morgan Mazurkiewicz had one of her best games as a Blue Pony, while Lacey Waid followed her 17-point outing on Friday with another standout performance.
Haley Ohm, Neya Bischoff, and Tori Mazurkiewicz also had great outings as the Ponies inside-out game worked to near perfection.
Coming out hot, the Ponies were hitting from outside the 3-point arc with great accuracy. They broke down the Indians’ defense from the opening tip, and even found a way to score inside the paint when the Indians turned up their full-court press.
It didn’t matter what the Indians threw at the Ponies, Havre found a way to handle it and found a way to score.
Head coach Dustin Kraske had the Blue Ponies firing on all cylinders over the weekend, and they stepped up to another level of play, especially in the chipper. Now, with nothing but the Class A state tournament left on the Ponies’ schedule, I hope to see them improve even more. They are a young squad with a lot of young talent and have a real shot at challenging for a state championship.
Last season I went to Butte and watched the Ponies go 0-2 at the state tournament, but this time around I get the sense that the Ponies have a better idea of what is on the line.
And if the way they played on Saturday night in Great Falls is any indications, this coming weekend in Butte could be very exciting.
Havre High will compete for a state title in Butte this weekend at the Butte Civic Center.