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Pony seniors make one last stand in the Corral


February 17, 2020

Portrait of a Pony

Havre High's Kyndall Keller shoots a free throw during the Blue Ponies' senior night against Fairfield Saturday in the HHS gymnasium. The Ponies swept Browning and the Eagles to improve to 16-1 on the season and undefeated again at home.

The Havre High senior girls basketball players have won a lot of games inside the HHS gymnasium, but they wanted two more.

HHS did that with a pair of rematch wins over the Browning Lady Indians Friday and the Fairfield Eagles Saturday. The Ponies picked up both win, beating Browning 67-35 and Fairfield 56-31.

When it comes to Friday’s game versus the Lady Indians, Havre put on a good show, including freshman Avery Carlson, who led a nice 5-0 run in the fourth quarter against Browning. In the end, she was happy the team got the win.

Havre started off the game with a 9-0 run, led by Kadia Miller to take an early lead over the Indians, followed by some back-and-forth, with Browning dropping some baskets to stay in the match, but the Ponies led 15-9 at the end of the first quarter. Then, HHS went on two separate runs in the second stanza, with Kyndall Keller putting up a great game, while the Indians went on a 6-0 run themselves. Still, Havre had a big 33-19 lead at the break.

The third period saw another opening run by HHS, with Sadie Filius at the helm this time. Browning pushed back, but another run by the Ponies kept them ahead 51-25 going into the fourth quarter. The final eight minutes saw Havre continue to boost its lead and in the end, take the win.

Keller put up 16 points for HHS against Browning, while Miller dropped 13.

Then came the Saturday's senior night matchup against Fairfield, where Keller, Miller, Sam Oliver, Jessa Chvilicek and Katie Wirtzberger were all recognized for their hard work with the Blue Ponies over the years.

Wirtzberger and Oliver were glad to see the team come away with the win in that special game.

“It was so emotional at the beginning just because it was senior night,” Wirtzberger said. “But, we came out better than we expected with all the tears and the hugging, so that helped.”

“I thought we came out very strong and everybody was ready to go,” Oliver said. “We got into our groove and just went with it. It was a good senior night.”

The five seniors started off the game for Havre, too. After some defensive bouts between the teams, the Ponies took off on a 14-0 run to take the lead, followed by a field goal by Kylie Walker to put Havre up 16-5 at the end of the first period.

The second quarter saw the Ponies double their lead, with Keller, Oliver and Miller all putting up baskets. Meanwhile, the Eagles dropped some points, as well, with Madison Rosenbaum putting up a good game trying to keep Fairfield in the game, but the Havre defense halted a lot of progress for the Eagles, who were still behind 32-14 at the break.

The first half was a great start for HHS, and players like Keller were focused on the game, but also aware that this was their last home game of the season.

“I feel awesome,” Keller said. “I have a lot of mixed emotions, like happy, excited and anxious, but this place is so much fun to play in. I think it’s the best place to play in Montana of all the places I’ve played. The fans are awesome, everyone comes out and supports us, they’re loud and crazy. It goes by fast and I’m so thankful to be a part of this program.”

The third quarter was a bit more dormant for both teams, but Oliver, Wirtzberger, Keller and Filius all put up points for Havre to extend the lead to 41-19 going into the fourth stanza. Junior Loy Waid was a big factor in the big run HHS had in the final eight minutes, helping the Ponies grab the win in the end.

Keller led Havre once again, putting up a monstrous 29-point performance, while Oliver followed with seven points against the Eagles.

In the end, Miller was glad to see her friends and the team work together to make Saturday a wonderful final home game for her and the seniors.

“It was really special because all five of us seniors got to play together,” Miller said. “It was really nice. Our strongest points were passing, offensive rebounding and working together.”

Meanwhile, Chvilicek was taking it all in after the win, glad to see her team get all the support from the Havre community.

“I love this place,” Chvilicek said. “I love the energy, my teammates, my coaches and everybody. We all just click together. I’m gonna miss this place for sure.”

In the end, the Blue Ponies picked up a pair of wins to not only end off the home games for the year, but also share great moments with the people who have cheered them on for so long.

With the legacy continuing, Havre wraps up its regular season on the road in Lewistown to play the Golden Eagles on Friday.

Havre 67, Browning 35

Browning 9 10 6 10 - 35

Havre 15 18 18 16 - 67

Browning – Mecca Bulchild 2, Dulci Skunkcap 8, Skyla Wells 3, Tatum Running Crane 7, Abby Bullcalf 4, Tamika Guandepee 11. Totals: 12 9-12 35.

Havre – Kyndall Keller 16, Kylie Walker 10, Loy Waid 3, Avery Carlson 4, Kadia Miller 13, Jessa Chvilicek 7, Sadie Filius 11, Katie Wirtzberger 2, Britton Paulson 1. Totals: 22 17-26 52.

Havre 56, Fairfield 31

Fairfield 5 9 5 12 - 31

Havre 16 16 9 15 - 56

Fairfield – Natalie Kolste 7, Madi Rosenbaum 11, Kenna Pitcher 3, Taylor Simmons 1, Cheyenne Maddox 6, Kyler Bake 3. Totals: 10 9-18 31.

Havre – Sam Oliver 7, Kyndall Keller 29, Kylie Walker 5, Loy Waid 6, Kadia Miller 3, Sadie Filius 2, Katie Wirtzberger 4. Totals: 18 15-20 56.


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