Havre High Hoops 2019-2020: Blue Pony boys poised to make big strides

 

December 12, 2019

Havre Daily News/Colin Thompson

Havre High senior Jake Huston and the Blue Pony boys are ready to start their second season under head coach Walynn Burgess. The Ponies return a strong group of juniors and seniors who have a lot of experience.

Last season was the beginning of a new era for the Havre High boys basketball team. It was a new season under a new head coach in Walynn Burgess and a squad hungry to get after a title. Though the Blue Ponies didn't go as far as they had hoped, Havre looked to have a spark back onto the squad.

In the 2018-2019 season, Havre fell in the Eastern A Divisional tournament to Billings Central and Sidney. It was a tough pair of losses for the Ponies, but even without the state berth, there was a culture starting to take full shape.

Now, Havre is heading into its second year under Burgess and will look to prove themselves on the court and in Class A. There was a lot of promise in the Blue Pony squad last year and this season will be an exciting opportunity to see even more growth.

For Burgess, the goals he has set for his team apply to every game this year and will aim to reflect the culture he is working to set into stone.

"The goal for every night is to be the hardest-working team on the floor," said Burgess. "We're a team that loves to share the ball 'cause we don't care who scores it at any time. We believe in the other 95-percent of basketball that doesn't include having the ball in your hands."


There were a lot of great performances throughout last season out of the Ponies. But with every year comes some of the key players moving onward. Gone are last years' seniors like Tommy Brown, Tysen Sangrey and Austin Delarosa, while the senior class this year will be consisting of Jake Huston, Mason Rismon, Tyrel Kjersem, John South and Quinn Springer.

Those seniors will help in working with the starting lineup for Burgess along with junior star Kellen Detrick, who is another key athlete among the Havre team. Others like juniors Josh Warp, Max Olson, Nolan Lotton and Clint Owens and sophomores Josh Currie and Caden Jenkins will all look to do their part in forming a both young and experienced Blue Pony squad.

The group of Havre standouts will be in a bit of a new situation this year. The season schedule is packed with familiar faces, new opponents, tough teams and even the defending champions of Class A, Billings Central. Even so, Burgess is happy with the schedule this year.

"The schedule overall is great," said Burgess. "We get to open against two high-end Class A squads (Laurel and Billings Central) who could make deep runs into the postseason. It gives us a chance to see where our benchmark is. We get to see some AA squads in Great Falls and CMR, all the way down to two Class B teams in Fairfield and Malta that both have a studied history in basketball."


The new familiarity for the Ponies will be in their own conference. No longer is Havre in the Central A, but now the Northeast A, consisting of Lewistown, Miles City, Glendive and Sidney, who the Ponies will play twice in the season, along with Browning. The year will be a tough one for Havre, but Burgess is excited to get out on the court with his team to play.

"I just love the opportunity we get every night to compete against some of the best night in and night out," said Burgess. "We just love the fact we get to go out and compete every single night. We go on the road to open up conference play and get to travel to new conference opponents Miles City and Glendive all before Christmas break. Overall, it will be great."

The Eastern A divisional will be Feb. 26-29 in Billings at First Interstate Bank Arena, while the Class A state tournament will be Mar. 12-14 in Billings, as well. The Blue Ponies will open their season this weekend with a road game Friday against Laurel, followed by a home-game versus defending state champion Billings Central Saturday in the Havre High gymnasium.

 

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