Ponies thump Locomotives, fall to Rams

 

December 16, 2019

Havre Daily News/Colin Thompson

Havre's Loy Waid, right, looks to score during the Blue Ponies' season-opening win over Laurel Friday night inside the HHS gymnasium.

The season has started for the Havre High girls basketball team and this last Friday and Saturday had many different results from the Blue Ponies.

In the season and home opener on Friday in the Havre High Gymnasium, Havre proved its moxie as the defending Class A state champions with a big win over a tough program in the Laurel Locomotives, winning 66-49.

But on Saturday down in Billings, the Ponies experienced some more tough competition and fell to an all-too-familiar opponent, the Billings Central Rams, who beat Havre 59-46.

Friday night's game against Laurel proved to be a great start to the year and a nice working point, as well. Overall, HHS assistant coach Hayley Criner was glad to see what the team accomplished against Laurel.

"It's the first game of the season and we have a lot to grow, with it being December," said Criner. "We're playing December basketball and that kind of showed tonight. We got a lot of things to work on and that's okay."

While the Ponies came out on top, there was a lot of rust to be shaken off among the group, but it was quickly solved.

The first quarter of play was quick and easy for Havre, who jumped into a 13-4 lead over the Locomotives after a 9-2 run towards the end of it. Senior Kendall Keller did not leave any mercy behind, starting off the game with six points already.


The second started off well once more for the Ponies, who extended their lead to 19-4 after some well-placed shots and free throws by seniors Katie Wirtzberger and Jessa Chvilicek. Laurel's Maeson Cotter and Morgan Maack put up some points to try and stay in the game, pushing the score to 25-12.

But the Locomotives fell to another powerful Blue Pony run. Havre burst into another 9-0 run, led by senior Kadia Miller, junior Loy Waid and Keller to lead by 20 at the half 34-14. Criner was happy to see the dominant performance in the first half.

"I think our team did a lot of things right," said Criner. "We lot a lot of moments where, on offense, we moved the ball well. We had a couple good defensive stops. Just kind of stringing those things together to get five or six of those in a row is going to take our game to the next level."

Havre continued to flex its muscles in the second half of the game, with Keller, Miller and Wirtzberger leading the charge to lead 53-28 at the end of the third. In the fourth, Laurel aimed to respond by dropping more baskets and making big plays, but the drive by Havre was too much and the Locomotives fell.


Keller and Miller had the biggest performances of the night for the Blue Ponies. Keller racked up 25 points, propelled by her big first half performance, while Miller put up 16 points on the evening, with her surge going all game.

With an opening performance for the season like that, it is no doubt that Havre would look forward to its matchup against formidable Billings Central. But, like the Eastern A Divisional championship last year in Billings, the Ponies fell to the Rams.

HHS head coach Dustin Kraske told 406 Sports reporter Victor Flores his assessment of the matchup in Billings.

"Credit to Billings Central. I thought they played just fantastic," said Dustin Kraske. "We didn't play with as much enthusiasm as I thought we should've."

In the loss to the Rams, it was a big surge in the second half by Central that hurt the Ponies. The Rams put up 36 points in the second half, while Havre only managed to rack up 27.

Keller put up 25 points once again in the weekend down in Billings, but her performance was not enough to help the Ponies propel into a win and in the end, Billings Central sent the defending champs to its first loss of the year.

Next, Havre (1-1) will face off against the new Northeast A conference rivals this weekend. First, the Blue Ponies will take on Glendive in a road-game in

Glendive on Friday, followed by another away-game against Miles City in Miles City on Saturday.

Havre 66, Laurel 49

Laurel 4 10 18 21 - 49

Havre 13 21 19 13 - 66

Laurel – Sophia Timm 4, Maeson Cotter 11, Grace Timm 10, Gracey Willis 4, Sammi Spitzer 7, Kolby Gibbs 5, Morgan Maack 6, Bailey Graves 2. Totals: 16 15-26 49.

Havre - Sam Oliver 1, Kyndall Keller 25, Kylie Walker 5, Loy Waid 4, Avery Carlson 1, Kadia Miller 16, Jessa Chvilicek 2, Sadie Filius 5, Katie Wirtzberger 7. Totals: 20 19-28 66.

Billings Central 59, Havre 46

BC 10 13 18 18 - 59

Havre 14 5 16 11 - 46

Billings Central - S. Elletson 15

Havre - Kendall Keller 25, Loy Waid 3, Kadia Miller 9, Sadie Filius 7, Jessa cHvilicek 2.

Havre Daily News/Colin Thompson

Kadia Miller tries to drive during the Blue Ponies' season-opening win over Laurel Friday night inside the HHS gymnasium.

 

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