The Havre High girls basketball team was hungry to get back out on the court after a two-week break. And after earning two dominant wins out of the gate, the Blue Ponies quickly settled into a groove as they remain in midseason form.
After a conference win on the road over the Lewistown Golden Eagles on Friday, and a home win over the non-conference Shelby Coyotes on Saturday, the Ponies improved to 4-3 overall and an impressive 3-0 in Central A play. HHS defea
HHS's Tori Mazurkiewicz, right, races past a Shelby defender during Saturday night's girls basketball game at the HHS gymnasium.
ted the Eagles 46-25, and defeated the Class B Coyotes 63-17 in two very impressive and lopsided victories.
"We wanted to let both teams score as little as we could," Havre High guard Brandy Lambourne said. "When we play in practice, we play the junior varsity, and we try not to let the jv score at all. We just wanted to get after it, and that is what we tried to do (this weekend)."
And that was a mission accomplished for the HHS defense this weekend.
In two games, the Ponies allowed a combined 42 points. And in the eight quarters played, the Pony defense allowed double digit scoring in just two quarters, while also shutting out Shelby in the opening frame on Saturday. And in Saturday's matchup alone, the Ponies forced the Coyotes to turn the ball over a grand total of 33 times.
The defensive pressure by the Ponies was key in both wins, but fans got to see it first hand in the win over the Coyotes. HHS used several different looks to frazzle the Shelby offense, including their full court press and a mix of zone and man looks. The defense was stellar all night long, but there was a stretch in the third quarter where the Ponies came up with three consecutive steals and converted them to three easy layups in a span of about 30 seconds. Two of those steals came from Tori Mazurkiewicz as the Ponies outscored the Coyotes 22-4 in the frame.
"We actually did a great job all weekend long on the defensive side of the ball," Havre High head coach Dustin Kraske said. "And our pressure tonight (Saturday) was very similar to what it was last night against Lewistown. We can really trust our defense quite a bit right now."
Blue Pony Brandy Lambourne, left, goes in for a layup during Saturday night's girls basketball game at the HHS gymnasium.
The offense came out sluggish against Shelby, but eventually settled down and had a nice night.
HHS only held a 2-0 lead five minutes into the ballgame. In those opening minutes, the Ponies were 2-for-4 from the free-throw-line and 0-for-10 from the field with four turnovers. In the final three minutes the Ponies' offense was sparked by Haley Ohm off the bench, coming in and scoring four quick points on consecutive buckets in the paint. The offense went on to total 10 first quarter points, followed by a 22 in the second, 22 in the third and nine in the fourth.
Ohm finished with six points, while the Ponies were led by Lambourne and Peyton Filius who both finished with 15 points. Morgan Mazurkiewicz added seven, while Tori Mazurkiewicz and Neya Bischoff also finished with six points each.
"Offensively," Kraske said. "It was kind of weird. We got really, really good shots early, but we rushed every single one it seemed like. We want to be able to run the floor, but when we don't have that, we want to be able to move the basketball from side to side a little bit better. I think tonight was the best we have done that this season so far. That was pleasing to watch.
"We just needed to slow down," Lambourne added. "Take our time, and play with patience."
The win on Friday was just as convincing by the Ponies, and a little more important, as it kept the Ponies undefeated in the Central A standings.
The offense was able to score 46 points, but the storyline again was all about the defense, as they allowed just 25 points by the struggling Golden Eagles. Kraske said the defensive pressure was similar to what they did against the Coyotes, meaning the Lewistown offense had to fight for every shot they took, as the HHS defense proved they can clog the passing lanes and refuse to give up open or easy looks.
Havre's Peyton Filius, right, drives to the basket during Saturday night's girls basketball game against Shelby in Havre.
"We didn't play that well offensively, together," Kraske said. "We did that better tonight (Saturday). But our kids did a nice job overall, and again; I was very pleased with our defense. Going to Lewistown and winning was huge for us, we are 3-0 in the league, and all three wins have come on the road. We are pleased to be where we are, but we will just continue to grind it out and see what we can do down the stretch."
Lambourne led the offense yet again, this time with 12 points, while Filius came up with 10 of her own. Lacey Waid and Morgan Mazurkiewicz scored seven points each in another balanced effort.
On Friday the Ponies will host the conference rival Browning Indians, and on Saturday, the Ponies will face Class B Conrad on the road.
Havre 46, Lewistown 25
Havre 11 12 13 10 – 46
Lewistown 4 5 6 10 – 25
Havre — Breck Don 1, Brandy Lambourne 12, Morgan Mazurkiewicz 7, Lacey Waid 7, Peyton Filius 10, Tori Mazurkiewicz 3, Haley Ohm 4, Neya Bischoff 2.
Lewistown — Mikaela Olson 6, Kailey Grover 7, Jessica Kinderoski 5, Michelle Monger 2, Jaree Mare 5.
Havre 63, Shelby 17
Shelby 0 10 4 3 – 17
Havre 10 22 22 9 – 63
Shelby – Katie Kellehor 2, Katie Hayes 5, Kayla Leary 7, Jessica Mahr 3.
Havre – Breck Don 4, Brandy Lambourne 15, Morgan Mazurkiewicz 7, Lacey Waid 4, Peyton Filius 15, Tori Mazurkiewicz 6, Haley Ohm 6, Neya Bischoff 6.