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Blue Pony boys fall twice on the road


In the first weekend out, the Havre High boys basketball team knew it was going to learn a lot about itself with two extremely tough opponents on the road.

And Blue Ponies did just that. After going 0-2 on the weekend, HHS has a long list of areas to cleanup before their next time out.

Friday in Malta, the Ponies fell 47-34 to the Class B Mustangs. And Saturday in Great Falls, the Ponies fell 59-33 to the powerful Class AA CMR Rustlers.

"You really don't know where you are at until you have the chance to play a couple of games," Havre High head coach Andy Smith said. "Everybody has to start somewhere and we had those games to evaluate our play, to show us maybe what our strengths and weaknesses are. There are just some glaring things that we have to do better defensively and offensively."

The Mustangs and Rustlers play with two very different styles, but what they have in common is that they are both very solid programs that can make teams learn very quickly where they need to improve. The Mustangs used a lot of pressure to get the Ponies out of their comfort zone. They had well executed full court press and played a hi-tempo defense that had the Ponies on their heels all night. And for the Rustlers, their strength and 6-6 size forced the Ponies to be one dimensional, causing the Ponies to force poor shots and to play very indecisive.

All weekend the Ponies defense faught to keep up. While they did show signs of great play and the ability to make defensive stops, a lot of time Smith said his defense would be out of position.

And on the offensive side of the ball, the Ponies were rushed and almoste paniched at times. This is where the Ponies inexperience really shined through, as they had nearly 20 turnovers against Malta as well as CMR. The Ponies also took a lot of low percentage shots, causing them to shoot right around 30 percent from the field against both opponents this weekend as well.

"We have to be more crisp with the basketball." Smith said. "We were not fundamentally sound with the ball and we showed poor decision making. We need to make each possession count more and we need to work harder, maybe make that extra pass and work harder without the ball to find a better shot."

Friday the Ponies were led by Brandon Smith with 15 points. Ryan Brandt added nine and Thurman Holdsclaw added six. Kade Rismon had two points and 10 rebounds.

Saturday night, the Ponies were led again by Smith, this time with 21 points and 10 rebounds against the oversized Rustlers. Smith had four treys for the Ponies aswell. Brandt and Rismon added four points each, while Holdsclaw and Ruff combined for four.

The Ponies have a lot of work still ahead of them, but now know exactly what they need to work on as the season progresses.

"I know it sounds like a lot to work on," coach Smith said. "But we needed to see where we are at. And we know if we are going to be successful, there is no way around it; we have to get better in every area. But I think one of the positives, at times we had pretty good effort, but that too has to be more consistent."

This weekend the Ponies will host two Central A conference games. Friday HHS will host Livingston and on Saturday the Ponies will host Belgrade.

Malta 47, Havre 34

Havre 6 12 4 12 — 34

Malta 11 16 8 12 — 47

Havre — Ryan Brandt 9, Rydell Ruff 2, Brandon Smith 15, Thurman Holdsclaw 6, Kade Rismon 2. 13 3-7 34.

Malta — Kendall Denham 15, Kaden Bedwell 2, Landon Costin 5, Spencer Van Wichen 2, Zach Handley 7, Kyle Boos 14, Tucker Schye 2. Totals 19 7-17 47.

Total fouls: Havre 18, Malta 17. Fouled out: Brandt. 3-point goals: Brandt 2, Smith 3, Denham 1, Handley 1.

CMR 59, Havre 33

Havre 6 8 10 9 — 33

C.M. Russell 18 22 13 6 — 59

Havre — Ryan Brandt 4, Brandon Smith 21, Thurman Holdsclaw 2, Rydell Ruff 2, Kade Rismon 4. Totals: 14-42 1-7 33.

CMR — Cameron Oswood 3, Isaiah Collins 5, Josh Horner 1, Russ Morin 16, Colton Carter 7, Jayse McLean 7, Joey Marzion 12, Luke Stenzel 4, Tanner Olsen 2, Tyler Pfennigs 1-2 0-1 2. Totals: 24-64 9-16 59.

Three-point goals: Havre 4 (Smith 4), CMR 2 (Oswood, Marzion). Rebounds: Havre 26 (Smith 10), CMR 45 (Morin 12, Olsen 10). Turnovers: Havre 21, CMR 9. Total fouls: Havre 17, CMR 10. Fouled out: none.


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