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Ponies beat Red Devils in home debut

The Blue Ponies Defend their Home

 

December 10, 2018

Colin Thompson

Havre's Jake Huston goes up for two during the Blue Ponies' win over Glendive Saturday night in the HHS gymnasium. The victory was the first for new HHS head coach Walynn Burgess.

During his one season at North Star coaching alongside the late Griff Bye, Walynn Burgess learned a lot about basketball. He also learned a little something about Hawaiian shirts.

Well, Saturday night in the HHS gymnasium, when Burgess coached his first game as the head of the Blue Ponies, he wore a Hawaiian shirt to honor his late colleague and like it did so many times for Bye, the shirt proved to be good luck for Burgess as his Ponies won their home opener in resounding fashion 56-32.

“Every home opener,” Burgess said. “We all rock the Griff Bye style.”

Burgess was referring to the fraternity of coaches along the Hi-Line. And while Bye helped Burgess along when he first became part of that group, the win by the Ponies Saturday night had all the fingerprints of a team coached by Burgess. In other words, the Ponies did it with defense. In four quarters of play, Glendive reached double figures in just one eight-minute stanza and in the third quarter, when the Ponies pushed their lead from 11 points to 20, the Red Devils managed just five.

“That’s it for us,” Havre senior Tysen Sangrey said. “Every game is about defense. Coach said it himself when he got here. We have to come out and get stops and then try to get buckets.”

“We have talked about that since the day I got here,” Burgess said. “We are going to hang our hats on being a defensive team.”

The Havre defense made it awfully difficult for the Red Devils to score many buckets, but on the other end, Glendive had a hard time stopping Sangrey, especially in the second half, when he hit four field goals and connected on 5-of-8 three throws for 13 second-half points. He finished with a game-high 14.

“Coach said to come out and play smart and play together,” Sangrey said. “We just came out and worked hard.”

The hard work eventually paid off but early on, Glendive held an early 9-5 lead before a 3-pointer by Austin Delarosa trimmed the deficit to 9-8 at the end of the first quarter. The shot by Delarosa sparked a Havre run that continued into the second quarter. Tommy Brown hit a triple early in the second stanza and that was followed by buckets from Jake Huston and another from Delarosa, which capped a 13-0 run for the Ponies, which gave them an 18-9 lead. Before intermission, Brown hit another three, sending Havre into the locker room leading 28-17.

In the third quarter, Havre took the game over and it did by being the more aggressive team on both ends of the floor. Sangrey scored nine points in the frame, while Brown had four. Havre scored 14 total points in the quarter, but eight of them came from the free throw line as Havre continually forced its way inside and earn its way to the line.

“We believe in playing together,” Burgess said. “It doesn’t matter who scores. It could be anybody on any given night. It matters who gets the best shot and when everyone is sharing the ball, it’s contagious.”

When the third quarter was over, Havre led by 20 and the fourth quarter was nothing more than a formality as the Ponies got their first win of the season and Burgess notched the first win of his Havre coaching career. Joining Sangray in double figures was Brown with 11, Kellen Detrick with 10 and Jake Huston with 10.

“We are far away from where we want to be,” Burgess said. “We understand that part of it. But now we know we can take those steps. For this weekend, it was a big one, but big picture, we have a lot of work to do and the boys know that. Now they are looking to do it.”

Before hosting Glendive in the season opener, Havre traveled to Billings Friday night to take on Billings Central, the three-time Class A state runner-up. Knowing it was going to be tough to keep up with the Rams, Havre wasn’t intimidated early and at the end of the first quarter, the Ponies were tied with Central 19-19. Even at halftime, the Ponies were hanging around, as they went into intermission down just eight, 39-31.

In the second half, though, Billings Central finally started to pull away. The Rams ended up making 17 3-point shots on their way to a 94-53 win over the Ponies. Billings Central scored 54 points in the second half of play.

“We kind of ran into a buzzsaw with Billings Central,” Burgess said. “I felt like they had a magnet going to the rim. But we came out with the right energy and if was good for us to see we can do that. Now, we just have to figure out a way to do that for four quarters.”

Havre (1-1) will be on the road for back-to-back road games this week against Livingston Friday and Belgrade Saturday.

Colin Thompson

Mason Rismon drives the basket during the Blue Ponies' win over Glendive Saturday night in the HHS gymnasium.

Havre 56, Glendive 32

Glendive 9 8 5 10 - 32

Havre 8 20 14 14 - 56

Glendive - Alezx Bakoc 3, Dalton Oakland 3, Landon Palmer 5, Logan Phipps 11, Parker Buckely 2, Riley Basta 8. Totals: 10 5-10 32.

Havre - Jake Huston 10, Tommy Brown 11, Mason Rismon 4, Kellen Detrick 10, Austin Delarosa 5, Tysen Sangrey 14, Clint Owens 2. Totals: 18 17-25 56.

 

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