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HHS boys trump Malta in season opener

 

December 16, 2013

Warp

Looking to build off of last year’s rebuilding season, the Havre High boys basketball team has already gotten off to a better start compared to where it was a year ago.

The Central A Blue Ponies opened the season with two non-conference games over the weekend. Both games were on the road, and the Ponies earned a very tough split with Class B Malta and Class AA CMR. Friday in Malta, the Ponies defeated the Mustangs in the season-opener 44-38. But the Ponies ran into a tough Rustler team Saturday in Great Falls. The Rustlers defeated the Ponies 67-39.

But the season-opening win over Malta was a big step for the still very young Ponies.

“The boys really came out and played well,” Second-year head coach Curt Leeds said. “They had a really good first half and had a good start to the second half. We got in some foul trouble for a split second, but battled back at the end and got the win.”

In the first quarter, Havre outscored the Mustangs 8-5. But as the Ponies quickly shook off any offseason rust, a 17-7 second quarter gave the Ponies a 25-11 lead at halftime.

Malta came out and pressed the Ponies with a tough zone, but after some early adjustments HHS still found ways to score. The goal is to work the ball inside, but getting out in transition, the Ponies were getting inside with their guards, not Kade Rismon or Jase Kato in the post. Rismon still grabbed 10 points and 11 rebounds for a double-double, while Kato grabbed four points.

A solid start gave the Ponies the lead early on, but remaining poised also helped get the Ponies in the win column.

“It was our wings attacking the paint, more than us posting up,” Leeds said. “But we still got it into the paint, and that was good to see. And we have a smart team, we never got down on ourselves, we never backed off, and we kept our heads high. That foul trouble didn’t cause us to panic, and that was good to see. It was fun to watch them play well and play well together.”

Dane Warp finished with a game-high 20 points, but also grabbed a double-double with 12 rebounds. Nate Rismon scored eight points and Brian Smith had two.

CMR was a tougher task for the Ponies to handle, but Leeds was still pleased with his teams’ play, and knows they are better for it, even with the loss.

The Pony offense struggled to score, and the defense found it difficult to slow down the Rustlers’ athleticism, but moving forward, the transition from game to game should come easier for HHS.

“In Malta it was called close,” Leeds said. “And it is tough to play that way one night, then go to another gym the next day and play that physical. The kids really had to persevere through that in the first half, but after that I think we adjusted well to how the game was being called. I thought it was a good experience for us. We know the refs call games different from game to game, and now we know how to adjust that quicker in the future.”

CMR jumped all over the Ponies with a 25-point first frame and held a 40-16 lead at the break. But the improvements by the Ponies were clear as they limited the Rustlers to 26 second-half points. The Ponies also managed to post 14 in the third quarter and nine more in the fourth in an attempt to remain competitive.

Warp had another big game in his sophomore season, leading the Ponies with a game-high 26 points. But the rest of the offense struggled, as Kato followed with four points and Kade Rismon and Jonathan Faber followed with three points each. Nate Rismon, Jeff Miller, and Michael Bakke combined for another five.

A 1-1 start to the season isn’t ideal as a sweep, but it is a great building block moving forward. The Ponies got a lot of useful experience in just two games, and are confident these two games will aid in the Ponies’ play moving forward. The offense and defense saw different man and zone looks from two very athletic programs, and got ample opportunities to make in game adjustments on the fly. The Ponies continue to look forward to the rest of the tough schedule.

“It was a great opening weekend for us,” Leeds said. “We saw a little bit of everything. Malta zoned us and CMR played us man-to-man, so we got to work on our zone and man sets. I think we will be better prepared heading into the rest of our season, and I think we will adjust to adversity a little bit quicker.”

Friday, HHS will host the conference rival Livingston Rangers, and Saturday the Ponies will host the Belgrade panthers.

Havre 44, Malta 38

Havre 8 17 11 8 – 44

Malta 5 7 14 12 – 38

Havre - Nate Rismon 8, Dane Warp 20, Brian smith 2, Jase Kato 4, Kade Rismon 10. Totals: 15 11-19.

Malta - Nate Costin 4, Jase Galt 7, Tyson Carney 8, Jeremy Costin 4, Allen Williamson 2, Zach Hanley 13. Totals: 13 10-15.

CMR 67, Havre 39

Havre 10 6 14 9 – 39

CMR 25 15 12 15 – 67

Havre – Dane Warp 26, Nate Rimson 2, Jonathan Faber 3, Jeff Miller 1, Michael Bakke 2, Jase Kato 4, Kade Rismon 3. Totals: 12 11-21.

CMR – Karl Tucker 4, Daryl Williams 11, Jayse McLean 24, Daekwon Carter 2, Jarrod Simmons 1, Gabe Kuntz 3, Dylan Halverson 8, Andre Langhorne 14, Eric Dawson 2. Totals: 26 10-18.

Total Fouls – Havre 14, CMR 20. Fouled out – none. 3-pointers – Faber 1, Warp 3, McLean 2, Kuntz 1, Halverson 2.

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