Over the last couple of weeks the Havre High girls basketball team has made it a habit of earning dominating and crucial victories. If the pattern continues, the Central A Blue Ponies should find themselves earning another regular-season and divisional-tournament title, as well as another berth in the Class A State basketball tournament in March.
Over the weekend the Ponies grabbed two more wins.
Friday night on the road, the Ponies managed to return from Browning with a narrow 70-63 conference win over the Indians. And Saturday at the Havre High gymnasium, the Ponies made short work of the Class B Rocky Boy Morning Stars, winning 69-44. The weekend sweep puts the Ponies at 4-0 in conference play and 7-3 overall.
After the valuable conference win, the Ponies did get a chance to show off again for the home crowd.
“Rocky Boy has a nice little team,” Havre High head coach Dustin Kraske said. “They did a nice job and played hard the entire game. I thought our kids played well, too. Both teams made some shots, and it ended up being a decent game.”
Saturday the Ponies’ offense picked up right where it left off after Friday’s win, beating the Morning Stars with a dose of their own medicine. The Ponies ran Rocky Boy out of the gym with buckets in transition and plenty of wide-open 3-pointers to go around.
Out of the gate the Morning Stars were stride for stride with the Ponies. A bucket by Minnie The Boy at the 3:43 mark even closed the HHS gap to 9-8 in the first quarter. But in the closing moments the Ponies managed an 11-4 run that included eight points from Havre’s Brandy Lambourne.
The offensive production continued for the Ponies while the Morning Stars struggled to keep the same productive pace.
Havre erupted for 17 points in the second frame and another 20 in the third. The Ponies also outscored the Morning Stars 12-7 in the final frame to ensure the big win. Rocky Boy did put up 17 in the third, but it wasn’t enough to close the gap, even with two 3-pointers by Chanal Standing Rock and another trey by The Boy. The Ponies took advantage of some Morning Star mistakes midway through the third to prevent Rocky Boy from gaining ground with a solid run. On three straight Rocky Boy turnovers, Havre hit three straight buckets to take a 48-27 lead. And even after Standing Rock was able to hit 3-pointers on consecutive possessions, Peyton Filius matched that with her two triples on consecutive possessions for the Ponies.
Filius led the Ponies with 21 points. Lambourne tallied 20 while Morgan Mazurkiewicz and Lacey Waid scored eight points each.
“Our kids played well, and even early on I think we passed up some open shots,” Kraske said. “But that is fine, we just need to do a little better offensively and get our baseline kids involved. I think we missed Haley Ohm and Lacey Waid a bit, so we need to a better job of that.”
Rocky Boy was led by Standing Rock with 14 points, followed by Kylee Raining Bird’s 12. Jude The Boy finished with seven for the Morning Stars.
The HHS offense was run-and-gun Friday also, but the defense had some trouble limiting the Indians on their home court. Browning had two girls score in double digits, as Shelsey St. Goddard finished with 10 and Tiara Gilham finished with a game-high 24 points.
“Browning was fantastic, they played hard and Gilham played very, very well,” Kraske said. “But we knew it would be a battle. They are a very good basketball team, and we were fortunate to get out of their with a win.
“They really keyed on Gilham, and you could tell she was in a groove,” Kraske added. “She made her first couple of shots and it was ‘here-we-go’ basically. She shot with confidence and they did a nice job trying to get her the ball. I think we were just a step slow early, then played ok, then were a step slow again. It was an interesting game. Browning was wonderful, but our kids battled for that win.”
It was a back-and-forth game all night long, and the Ponies even saw their small lead disappear with about 4:00 left to play in regulation.
After holding a 51-48 lead heading into the fourth quarter the Ponies soon found themselves trailing by one point. But, keeping their heads and continuing to execute, the Ponies made a nice run to retake the lead, eventually earning the win by a narrow seven points.
Lambourne had another big game with 19 points, and the Ponies also got 17 from Morgan Mazurkiewicz. Filius finished with 16 points, while Ohm got 13 down low for HHS.
“We are playing a lot more confident against the defense,” Filius said. “And I have a lot of confidence in my teammates too. We are playing together really well lately and we have a great team dynamic right now. We try to play quick, but not hurried, and we try to play our tempo, not their tempo. We like to play fast.
“Our kids really executed and made some nice plays down the stretch,” Kraske added. “It was a total team effort, bottom line. That is a tough place to play. Their fans really show their support. It showed the character of our kids. They did a nice job, took care of the pressure, got some baskets, and just did a fantastic job.”
After another great weekend the Ponies will now prepare for two conference games on the road. Friday the Ponies will face the Rangers in Livingston and Saturday they will face the Panthers in Belgrade.
Havre 70, Browning 63
Havre 17 11 21 19 - 70
Browning 14 12 22 15 – 63
Havre – Brandy Lambourne 19, Dani Wagner 2, Morgan Mazurkiewicz 17, Peyton Filius 16, Tori Mazurkiewicz 3, Haley Ohm 13. Totals: 23 17-23.
Browning – Rachel Hepner 7, Courtney Littledog 6, Shelsey St. Goddard 10, Shelby St. Goddard 7, Tiara Gilham 24, Cydnie Sharp 4, Jayla Wells 2, Ivana Spotted Eagle 3. Totals: 22 13-22.
Rocky Boy's Kylee Raining Bird goes in for a layup during Saturday night's meeting between the Morning Stars and Havre High at the HHS gymnasium.
Total fouls – Havre 20, Browning 18. Fouled out – T. Mazurkiewicz. Three pointers – Lambourne 3, M. Mazurkiewicz 2, Filius 2, Littledog 1, Shelsey St. Goddard 2, Gilham 2, Spotted Eagle 1.'
Havre 69, Rocky Boy 44
Rocky Boy 12 8 17 7 – 44
Havre 20 17 20 12 - 69
Rocky Boy - Jude The Boy 7, Chanel Standing Rock 14, Minnie The Boy 7, Jurnee Laforce 4, Kylee Raining Bird 12.
Havre - Breck Don 3, Brandy Lambourne 20, Dani Wagner 2, Morgan Mazurkiewicz 8, Lacey Waid 8, Peyton Filius 21, Tori Mazurkiewicz 3, Lindsey Kudrna 4.