Seniors all over the state are preparing for the end of their prep basketball careers, but one thing the Havre High senior girls don’t have to worry about, is having to move on without knowing what success feels like.
Four years ago, as freshmen, Lacey Waid, Haley Ohm, Breck Don, Peyton Filius and Brandy Lambourne missed the state tournament as part of the Blue Pony varsity team. But as four year-varsity players, that talented five took the Ponies to the Class A state tournament the last two seasons, and more than likely will do so again this season.
Winning hasn’t necessarily come easy for this senior class, but the wins have come in bunches, especially in the conference.
As sophomores they went 7-1 in league play and won the division. As juniors they repeated their 7-1 league record, as well as repeating as divisional champions. They also made the state tournament both last year and the year before, including a trip to the semifinals a year ago.
Nobody can argue the success these seniors have found, but they have done so in a unique way.
The history between Filius, Lambourne and Waid dates back to before middle school. They have played together since a very young age, including the last four years as varsity letter winners. Filius is currently averaging 12.2 points per game and is shooting nearly 50 percent from 2-point range and 25 percent from 3-point range. Filius has also hit a team-high 17 treys this season and has racked up 22 assists.
Lambourne is averaging nearly 13 points per game and is shooting 56 percent from 2-point range and 36 percent from 3-point range. Lambourne also has a team-high 26 steals and 30 assists.
Waid isn’t known for her offensive production as much as she is known for her aggressive play on defense. She adds a much needed spark to the aggressive HHS defense and can shut down almost anybody across from her. Still, Waid is shooting over 40 percent from 2-point range and is averaging more than five points per game and she as an excellent dribble-drive player, and also is a threat to post up.
These three play well together and it has showed.
But Ohm and Don have also been major players for head coach Dustin Kraske the last two seasons, stepping into a varsity role as juniors and giving the Ponies a well-rounded senior group.
“It was just as easy to play with them, too,” Waid said. “It wasn’t hard adding two more girls in to the mix. We just really know each other so well and we always know what the other is going to do when we are on the floor. We have all matured and grown up a lot. Each season has gotten more and more intense and serious for us. We have had four years of varsity to get better, but we all just know this is our year to win state. We were so close last year, and it is right there for us to grab. It would be awesome if we could win it all.”
And Ohm is a starting post player for the Ponies while Don is a talented guard coming off the bench for Kraske.
Don is a solid role player, and is typically called upon to use her athleticism to impact the game as one of the first subs off the bench. Don hasn’t shot a whole lot this season, but typically impacts the game as part of the stiff Pony defense.
Ohm has turned into a solid post player for the Ponies and is disappointed her senior season is winding down.
“I am kind of disappointed that it is ending,” Ohm said. “I feel like I just started coming around and got to a point where I am a good player. And now it is ending, but I am still excited about hopefully getting to state again, and I really think I can help out more at state this year. I started playing a lot later than the other girls so I am just now getting closer to their level on varsity.”
Currenty Ohm has four blocks on the season and averages four rebounds a game. Ohm also averages more than five points a game and is shooting 53 percent from the field.
The seniors will be honored Friday night before the Ponies take on the legendary Fairfield Eagles, even though the Ponies will play at Havre Central later this regular season. The final game at the Havre High Gymnasium will be a better sendoff for the five talented and experienced Blue Ponies.
And it’s a send-off this senior class truly deserves. This is as successful a senior class as Havre High has had in some time, and together, they’re not done yet.
“I don’t think it will really hit me until state maybe,” Waid said. “I am not thinking about our season ending or senior night because we still have some big games and divisionals and state left. I might cry like a baby after state or divisionals, but right now, it’s not an issue.”