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Ponies roll to a sweep of Livingston, Belgrade

Havre girls lock up what will be the last Central A regular season title


January 21, 2019

Havre Daily News/Colin Thompson

Havre High's Kyndall Keller, left, goes in for a layup during the Blue Ponies' win over Belgrade Saturday night inside the HHS gymnasium. The win clinched yet another Central A regular season championship for the Blue Ponies and head coach Dustin Kraske.

Winning the Central A conference must seem like old hat for the Havre High girls basketball team, but after sweeping Livingston and Belgrade inside the HHS gymnasium Friday and Saturday night, the Blue Ponies won yet another regular season crown.

After knocking off Livingston 65-33 Friday night at the Pony Corral, Havre took it to Belgrade Saturday night, using a 27-2 run in the third quarter to defeat the Panthers 64-35.

"Congratulations to our kids," HHS head coach Dustin Kraske said of another first-place finish in the Central A. "We played pretty well (Saturday). Actually, the second half of the last two games we have played really well. We just have to figure out how to be better out of the gate. It's not our energy, 'cause our energy is great. I think we just need a tick more poise to make some of those easy buckets that our kids are working hard to get."

"It's awesome," Havre junior Kyndall Keller said of winning the Central A again. "Winning never gets old. It's a good accomplishment."

In the first game of the Central A back-to-back, the Ponies hosted Livingston, a team Havre has dominated over the years. This time around was no different. Keller scored five points in the first quarter and HHS got six second-chance points, which put the Ponies in front 15-6 after one. Yet, in the second quarter, Livingston was able to keep within striking distance, and by halftime, the Rangers were down just 23-16 to Class A's No. 1 team.

In the third, Livingston got within five points before Keller took over. After scoring inside for two, Keller knocked down a 3-pointer which pushed the Havre lead to eight. She continued her hot streak, scoring the Ponies next six points as the lead was pushed to double digits. In all, she had 11 in the stanza. Sadie Filius and Jessa Chvilicek also got in on the act. Filius converted an old-fashioned 3-point play and then Chvilicek ended the period scoring seven straight points, including a triple that put the Ponies in front 48-26 with eight minutes left.

"I think we need to get better at coming out strong right away instead of in the second half," Keller said. "But we still got a win."

Filius added another 3-pointer in the fourth quarter as the Ponies went on to win by 32. Keller finished with a game-high 22 points which featured 13 in the second half.

Saturday, Keller started about as fast as possible against the Panthers, as she scored 10 points in the opening stanza. Havre also got a 3-pointer from Chvilicek, which helped build a 13-6 lead. In the second quarter, Belgrade was able to stay within single digits most of the way, but four late points from Keller pushed the advantage to 28-17 at the break.

While the Ponies started the game positively, it was nothing compared to the blistering effort they put together in the third quarter, on both ends of the floor. Katie Wirtzberger got things going early in the second half with a three and then after buckets by Filius and Keller, Havre led 40-17. Keller and Filius both scored again after stealing the ball and a few minutes later, Lauren Kato hit from beyond the arc to finish a 27-2 run.

Keller scored again early in the fourth to get her 21st point and extend the run to 29-2. Belgrade would finally string together some baskets in the final period, but in the third, the Panthers didn't make a single shot from the field.

"I think we all just worked really hard," Keller said of forcing the long scoring drought. "That's all I can say, we just work hard."

Keller's 21 points led all scorers for the second straight night. Havre also got 11 points from Kadia Miller, eight from Filius and six from Kato.

With the win, Havre improved to 12-0 on the season and 5-0 in the Central A. HHS has clinched the league's top seed at the Eastern A Divisional tournament next month. The winning streak, which dates back to the start of last season, has now reached 36 games.

Havre plays at GFH Friday night before hosting Malta for senior night on Saturday.

Havre 64, Belgrade 35

Havre Daily News/Colin Thompson

Sadie Filius plays defense during Saturday's win over Belgrade in the HHS gymnasium.

Belgrade 6 11 2 18 - 35

Havre 13 15 27 10 - 64

Belgrade - T. Christensen 7, V. Barkell 1, M. McGinley 5, H. Eaton 7, B. Christensen 6, S. Flikkema 3.

Havre - Sam Oliver 4, Kyndall Keller 21, Kylie Walker 4, Abbey Morse 2, Kadia Miller 11, Jessa Chvilicek 3, Sadie Filius 8, Katie Wirtzberger 3, Lauren Kato 6, Britton Paulson 2.

Havre 65, Livingston 33

Box Scvore Not Submitted by press time


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