One win would have been just what the Havre High girls basketball team needed over the weekend. But after getting back on track from last week’s slight derailment, the Blue Ponies grabbed two important wins instead.
The Central A Ponies played two games over the weekend and came out on top in both. Friday at the Havre High gymnasium, the Central A Ponies defeated the conference rival Lewistown Golden Eagles 49-40. And on Saturday in Shelby, the Ponies defeated the Class B Coyotes 56-24. With the two wins the Ponies improved to 6-1 in the conference and 9-7 overall.
Facing Lewistown on Friday night at home, the Ponies escaped with a win after a very tight matchup.
With four minutes left to play HHS held a slim 43-40 lead. The Havre offense struggled to score all night, but found other ways to earn the win down the stretch. In the final minutes, the Ponies hit 10-of-13 shots from the free throw line, chewed precious minutes off the clock, and turned up the heat on defense. There was a stretch after the 3:00 mark, where the Ponies ran nearly a minute and a half off the clock, simply dribbling and passing around the Shelby defense.
“Our girls had a higher sense of urgency in the last four minutes,” Havre High head coach Dustin Kraske said. “We made a commitment to defend, we spread them out with our offense, and we found ourselves in a situation down three points with three minutes to go. We just had to take care of the ball and knock down free throws. Our kids did a nice job.”
It was a tighter game than the Ponies would have liked, but a struggling offense meant a lot of missed scoring opportunities. The Eagles did play solid defense and their offense got the Ponies in foul trouble early, and that played a role. But unfortunately, the Ponies just had a poor shooting night, as many of their shots, solid looks and open jumpers, just wouldn’t fall in their own gym.
The Ponies were 4-of-8 from the field in the first quarter and just 5-of-12 in the second. Things didn’t get any better late in the game, as the Ponies were also just 3-of-16 in the third quarter and 3-of-9 in the fourth. The Ponies shot just over 27 percent from the field.
“I think we played too fast at times,” Kraske said. “We did have some open looks, and we have to be able to make those. But in the future I think we will if we can slow down a little bit. Our kids are continuing to grow offensively, and I think this weekend we played better offense than we did last weekend, so it is nice to see that growth.”
Peyton Filius continues to impress with her offensive production, and led the Ponies with 16 points. Neya Bischoff followed with nine, while Lacey Waid added eight and Tori Mazurkiewicz added seven.
Havre returned to action on Saturday, where the Ponies earned their second win of the weekend.
Again, the Ponies came on strong after intermission. They also had another top showing by their defense, a force that allowed just 10 points in the second half, including zero in the fourth quarter. The impressive 16 minutes by the Ponies’ defense came after they allowed just 14 first half points.
“We had a good game,” Kraske said. “And we played really well in the second half. We came out with more defensive enthusiasm, and we had a, ‘we need to play better than we have’ talk before coming back out. We are at that point in the year, where it doesn’t matter who we are playing, we have to come out and be ready to play.”
After opening the game with 10 points, the Ponies scored 12 in the second frame. But they heated up after the break and posted 34 more on the struggling Shelby squad. Filius had another standout game with a team-high 20 points, and Morgan Mazurkiewicz followed with nine, while Lambourne finished with eight.
After getting back into the win column, the Ponies are just two games away from the postseason. Friday the Ponies will host the Class B Conrad Cowgirls in their final home game of the year.
Havre 49, Lewistown 40
Lewistown 6 13 14 7 – 40
Havre 11 14 8 16 - 49
Lewistown — individual scorers unavailable
Havre — Brandy Lambourne 4, Morgan Mazurkiewicz 3, Lacey Waid 8, Peyton Filius 16, Tori Mazurkiewicz 7, Haley Ohm 2, Neya Bischoff 9.
Havre 56, Shelby 24
Havre 10 12 16 18 – 56
Shelby 5 9 10 0 – 24
Havre – Neya Bischoff 7, Lacey Waid 2, Peyton Filius 20, Morgan Mazurkiewicz 9, Tori Mazurkiewiz 1, Brandy Lambourne 8, Haley Ohm 4, Harlee Boucher 3, Lindsey Kudrna 2.
Shelby – Katie Kelleher 9, Melanie Brauchie 2, Jessica Mahr 8, Kelsey Smedsrud 5.