After a snow storm put a stop to sporting events all across the state a week ago, the Havre High boys and girls basketball programs are ready to get a makeup game against a conference opponent out of the way.
Tonight, the Central A Blue Ponies will face the Browning Indians. The HHS boys will face the Indians in Browning, while the HHS
girls host the Indians at the Havre High gymnasium at 6:30.
“We are excited to play,” Havre High girls head coach Dustin Kraske said. “This is another home game for us and Browning is a nice team. If we can play well and get a win, we put ourselves in position to win the league and that is great for our kids.”
The HHS girls are the No. 1 team in the conference with a flawless 5-0 record, while the Indians are No. 3. And the Ponies know this won’t be an easy task, as the Indians are known for how scrappy they are, and for their high energy and physical style of play. Browning gets out and runs against teams with their offense, and presses and traps teams to force turnovers with their defense. This game has a good chance of turning into a tight matchup down the stretch, and the Ponies know free throws could come into play. HHS is coming out of the weekend where they shot just 50 percent from the charity stripe.
“You have to hit those free throws to gain confidence in close games,” Kraske said. “And Browning plays all 10 kids, and each one plays hard and gets after it. I expect it to be a good game and I would expect our kids to play well.”
Browning is led by Marti Eaglefeathers and Tiara Gilham, both averaging over 10 points per game this season. Fortunately for the Ponies, their defense has been extremely strong this season and should be up for the task of handling the high speed Browning team.
And for the HHS offense, the Ponies just need to keep doing what they do best. If the shot isn’t there for Neya Bischoff inside, Peyton Filius and Brandy Lambourne, two of the best guards in Class A will be waiting to knock down shots from the outside.
For the HHS boys, things may be a little tougher as the Ponies have the task of playing in Browning, not only facing a tough team, but facing them in front of one of the rowdiest crowds in the conference. But coming off of a win over Livingston on Saturday, coach Curt Leeds is hoping the momentum can continue for his team.
“I hope the boys are happy with tonight’s (Saturday) win,” Leeds said. “But get ready and prepared for Browning. Browning is Browning, they are going to press you and they are going to trap you, so we need to catch the pass and look for the open man. We need to attack them with layups, and if we don’t have that, we have to be willing to pull the ball back out and slow it down that way.”
Coach Leeds knows he does not want to get caught up in a shooting fest with the Indians. The Indians are going to try and rush the game speed, but the Ponies have to maintain a pace they are more comfortable with. This means that if they can’t beat the press and score in transition, they have to be willing to pull the ball back out and run their offense, slowing the tempo down that way.
Kade Rismon and Dane Warp will be key contributors in the offense once again, but HHS needs to keep the balance they found agasint the Rangers over the weekend. Ramsey Drew, Nate Rismon, and Thurman Holdsclaw need to stay active and look to score as well.
The HHS boys will face the Indians in Browning tonight, while the HHS girls will host the Indians at 6:30 p.m. at the Havre High gymnasium. The Blue Pony girls are back on the road Thursday night to play Great Falls High, while the HHS boys will host the Bison Thursday night. The boys than travel to CMR Saturday, and the Pony girls are home to face the Rustlers Saturday night.