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Pony seniors already have a legacy built

Havre High girls home to face Browning tonight, Fairfield for an emotional senior night on Saturday


February 14, 2020

Winning back-to-back state championships places a lot of expectations on a team, which can be hard to live up to at times. But, the Havre High girls basketball team has lived up to those expectations and then some, this season proving again and again why the Ponies are the cream of the Class A crop.

And, the Blue Ponies still have three regular season games left before they go on the quest for a three-peat. This weekend will see Havre play two games at home, starting with the Browning Indians tonight at 6 in the Havre High Gymnasium, followed by a Saturday game in the Blue Pony Corral against the Fairfield Eagles.

Friday’s game versus Browning will be a tough matchup, but the game on Saturday is extra special for the Pony seniors, as it is their senior night, where they are recognized for their commitment and dedicated work as part of the Blue Pony basketball program.

The senior class this year is made up of five players. Sam Oliver, Kyndall Keller, Kadia Miller, Jessa Chvilicek and Katie Wirtzberger will all be celebrating their last season with the Blue Ponies. This senior class has been one of the best throughout the years in Havre and HHS head coach Dustin Kraske is proud of how much the girls have accomplished over the years.

“They’ve really had a good four years,” Kraske said. “Kyndall has been on the varsity the whole time. Kadia, Jessa and Katie joined us their sophomore year. Sam made the varsity as a freshman, took a year off and came back her junior year. They’ve collectively had a pretty good run as seniors in this building. They’ve put a lot of time into their game. They understand their roles, they’re doing them well and that’s allowed our team to be pretty good. They’re leadership has meant a lot to us and it’s been fun.”

Each senior has done a lot for Havre. Keller has been a star player since she was a freshman, making a name for herself and now has a future with the University of Montana Lady Griz basketball team after high school. Miller has grown into a bigtime player for the Ponies, too, making her mom, a former Havre player, proud. Now, Miller’s future will include a pursuit in the field of architecture. Wirtzberger has left a big impact for the Ponies, as well, often being an aggressive athlete on the court, which gives her team a great boost in moral, too.

Chvilicek and Oliver are two players who have been a great tandem for HHS. The two not only tear up the basketball court but have been big names for the volleyball team at Havre, too. And in the future, Chvilicek will attend Montana State University-Northern and join the Skylights volleyball team, while Oliver will be a part of the Rocky Mountain College volleyball program. Even if their futures may not involve basketball, the two have been key parts in helping the Ponies succeed for quite some time.

There is a lot to admire about the senior class, especially considering the group has helped Havre become one of the most dominant and successful girls programs in all of Montana the last four years. And Kraske has noticed something very special about the group.

“Their work ethic is number one,” Kraske said. “I think that they put so much time into getting better individually, which makes our team better. I think if there’s one characteristic maybe above all others is how hard they work.”

The Pony seniors will be an important part of Havre’s play this weekend and all five are lined up to not only succeed this year, but in the future, too. Whether it is tonight's game against the Browning or the Saturday clash versus Fairfield, each senior will look to fulfill their goals to sweep the weekend.

And at the end of the day, Kraske hopes that the girls take away something important when it comes to their future in and outside on sports.

“We’re hoping that they’re gonna leave a lot more for our program than we’re going to be able to give to them, probably,” Kraske said. “I think that if we did anything, I’d like to think that we taught them what it’s like to be part of a team and when you play together good things happen. I think you can learn it through team sports, so I think we had a little bit to do with that. But, they’re going to leave a tremendous mark on Havre High. They’ve done a lot and it’s been fun.”

Oliver, Keller, Miller, Chvilicek and Wirtzberger will all be important parts of the two home games this weekend, all the while inspiring teammates like sophomore Sadie Filius and juniors Kylie Walker and Loy Waid to be their best every chance they get.

The Ponies (14-1) face off against Browning tonight at 6 in the Havre High Gymnasium, followed by the senior night game against the Fairfield Eagles at about 5:30 p.m. on Saturday.


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