HHS girls finish strong
Coaches and teams like to preach that defense wins games, and that long time strategy was proved to be correct on Friday by the Havre High girls basketball team.
The Blue Ponies traveled to Browning for their last conference as well as regular season game of the year. And coming from behind in an almost impossible fashion, the Central A Ponies earned a 30-28 victory.
Offensively the Ponies struggled early. They scored just one point in the first quarter and three in the second. But the defense was playing outstanding as they held the Indians to nine in the first quarter and eight in the second.
HHS trailed 17-4 at the half, but stormed back in the second half with a 25-11 run that spanned over the final two quarters to upset the second-place Indians at home.
"The pace of the game was in our favor believe it or not," Havre High head coach Dustin Kraske said. "Defensively we played outstanding the whole game, particularly the first half. All of our kids did a really nice job, it was a total team effort. It was a heck of a ball game and our kids were excited. It was just a big, big win prior to us going to divisionals."
In the first half the Ponies were sluggish. They didn't attack the basket on offense and they were hesitant to break the Indians zone defense. But as the Ponies came out in the second half, they played with more life and got off their heels.
"Our kids came out and were more aggressive going to the basket and found more of an opening in the high post," Kraske said. "We played on our toes and attacked and that was the difference in the game in my opinion. It was a nice little comeback."
But the Ponies had to handle pressure down the stretch.
Jaclyn Evans and Peyton Filius did a nice job of handling the ball and Paighton Gilman had another nice game in the post. And Christina Mack and Evans hit some clutch free throws late in the game as well.
Semmy Evans had another solid outing on defense. She has emerged as a leader on the defensive end of the court and was rewarded on Friday as her dribble penetration and lay up gave the Ponies the lead early in the fourth quarter.
The comeback win was led by Gilman's 11 points and Mack's seven. But Jaclyn Evans added six and Filius added four. Sammy Evans finished with two points for the Ponies.
The win came at the perfect time for the Ponies. They had just two conference wins on the season and have struggled. But the win boosted the Ponies to 3-7 in conference play as well as boosted their confidence. The HHS win marked only the third time the Indians lost at home this season. The first was to Fairfield, the No. 1 team in Class B, and the second was to Butte Central, the No. 1 team in the Class A
"I told our kids that this game gives us an idea of how good we can be when we play together, play hard and play smart," Kraske said. "I was happy with our kids. They could have easily made the decision to turn it in, but they chose to play hard, play together and battle. They did a nice job and I was proud of them.
Havre 30, Browning 28
Havre 1 3 12 14 — 30
Browning 9 8 3 8 — 28
Havre — Jaclyn Evans 6, Sammy Evans 2, Peyton Filius 4, Chris Mack 7, Paighton Gilman 11. Totals: 8 14-26.
Browning — Kailey Hall 1, Kristen Rattler 4, Lynn Mad Plume 6, Shay Tatsey 2, Ashton Smith 2, Shanelle Skunkcap 1, Marti Eaglefeathers 6, Danielle Madden 6. Totals: 13 2-10.