Last week, the Havre High boys basketball team hit a rough patch in their season. The Blue Ponies did escape the weekend with one win, but more importantly, the Ponies are ready to move forward and keep improving.
Things don’t always go as planned, especially with a young team nearing the end of a rebuilding season. But as the Central A Ponies keep pushing forward, they were happy to earn a split in their two games this weekend. On Friday the Ponies had a shot to lock down the No. 3 seed in the conference, but fell to Lewistown 39-29 on the road. But the Ponies weren’t down for long, as they returned home on Saturday and earned a dominating, 62-25 win over the Class B Shelby Coyotes.
Saturday’s win over the Coyotes completed a season of Shelby. The Ponies had a chance to do the same to Lewistown, but had a rough outing.
“We had a lot of adversity going on as a team,” Havre High head coach Curt Leeds said. “And I don’t think we were mentally ready to compete (on Friday). Thursday and Friday were tough days, but we got there and worked through it. On the bus ride home we talked through some things, and got together again this morning (Saturday) and attitudes were a lot better and everybody was prepared to play. I think we are ready to move on with what we’ve got and we are still working to get better and to make a run at divisionals.”
Scoring just 29 points against the league’s last-place team, Friday’s loss was one of the worst of the season for the Ponies. The Ponies scored just 13 points in the first half, and followed an 11-point third quarter with just five more points in the final frame. The defense did well by allowing just 39 points, but Lewistown’s 26-13 first-half head start was too much for the Ponies to comeback from.
Dane Warp scored 21 for the Ponies, but Kade Rismon followed with just four.
Shelby is also struggling this season, housing a very young team, and the Ponies were able to capitalize on that and earn a very convincing win on Saturday.
The Coyote’s unique triangle-and-two defense slowed the Ponies down to start the contest, but eventually, the HHS offense was able to find ways to score. But while it took some time for the Ponies to get into gear offensively, the defense continued to play well, holding the Coyotes to just six points in the first half. The Coyotes were shut out in the first frame, scoring all six points in the second quarter. Shelby also totaled just 19 points in the final 16 minutes, and had just one double digit scorer with Ryan Clark finishing with 10. They Coyotes didn’t hit their first field goal until 5:54 in the second quarter.
And despite the slow start by the HHS offense, the Ponies played smart and patient from the get go.
“I thought our defense played great,” Leeds said. “But our offense also ended up playing very well. Nate (Rismon) and Dane (Warp) did a great job of helping other people get shots, high percentage shots. We still want Dane (Warp) and Kade (Rismon) to get their shots, but this is what we want, moving the ball around and everybody cutting and screening is going to open things up for everybody.”
In the opening minutes of the game, Kade Rismon hit a free throw to give the Ponies a 1-0 lead. But the Blue Pony shooters were ice cold, as they opened the game 1-for-12 from the field, and didn’t stretch the lead to 3-0 until the 2:42 mark of the first quarter. Kade Rismon hit the short jumper to give the Ponies the three-point advantage. Two more free throws and a Jon Faber trey sparked the Pony offense near the end of the opening frame, and set the stage for the rest of the game.
HHS went on to add 17 points in the second quarter, 21 in the third, and 16 in the fourth, as the Ponies figured out how to beat the Shelby defense with constant movement and plenty of passing.
Faber kept the offense rolling with another triple in the second quarter, while six different players also got in the books in the frame. And after Warp was held to just fie first half point, he paced the Ponies with 14 more in the second half, including two 3-pointers of his own. Warp led the Ponies with 18 points, while Faber finished with a season high 12. But Havre High showed how balanced their attack can be with Drew finishing with nine, Kade Rismon finishing with nine, and Smith finishing with six. Kato, Nate Rismon, and Michael Bakke also combined for eight points on the night.
With just two games left in the regular season, the Ponies are now 2-5 in conference play, and 4-12 overall. HHS will finish its non-conference schedule on Friday when the Ponies face Conrad on the road.
Lewistown 39, Havre 29
Lewistwon 14 12 7 6 – 39
Havre 9 4 11 5 – 29
Lewistown — Tre Bradley 3, Brak Butcher 2, James Derheim 10, Dylan Stennett 2, Jakob Plagenz 6, Andy Butcher 13.
Havre — Nate Rismon 1, Dane Warp 21, Brian Smith 2, Kade Rismon 4, Jase Kato 1.
Havre 62, Shelby 25
Shelby 0 6 7 12 – 25
Havre 8 17 21 16 – 62
Shelby — Jourdon Heydon 3, Jared Eckhardt 4, Tim Shimp 1, Ryan Clark 10, Bradley Fretheim 7.
Havre — Nate Rismon 2, Jon Faber 12, Dane Warp 18, Brian Smith 6, Wyatt Lindbloom 2, Ramsey Drew 9, Kade Rismon 4.