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HHS girls take another crack at the Eastern A title

Blue Ponies once again big favorites in Billings


February 26, 2020

Havre Daily News/Colin Thompson

Havre senior Kadia Miller scores during a Northeast A game against Miles City last month in Havre. The Pony girls could play the Cowgirls in the opening round of the Eastern A Divisional Thursday afternoon in Billings. After getting upset in the championship game last year, Havre hopes to take back the Eastern A title this weekend.

Editor’s note: This version corrects the date of the Class A girls basketball state tournament.

The Havre High girls basketball team is ready to go on a quest to three-peat as Class A state champions, but first, the Blue Ponies have to weather the tough storm at the Eastern A Divisionals iniside the First Interstate Bank Arena at the Metra in Billings today through Saturday.

The Ponies' mission starts Thursday at 3:30 p.m., where HHS will play the winner of Park (10-8) and Miles City (0-18) in a quarterfinal game. The win over the Rangers or Cowgirls will send Havre to the semifinals where they will play the winner of Billings Central (15-2) and Sidney (5-13) Friday at 8 p.m.

HHS head coach Dustin Kraske is ready to see his team compete out on the court at the Metra.

"There's three teams that can win it, us, Hardin and Billings Central," Kraske said. "I don't know out of those three. I guess whichever team plays the best has a chance to win it. Nothing against Glendive and Laurel. I think those two teams will be fighting for a state tournament berth, but I think it's a three-team race."

Havre is bustling with talent this season to have a good chance at the three-peat. Seniors Kyndall Keller and Kadia Miller have been offensive machines, while sophomore Sadie Filius and junior Loy Waid have made big strides on both sides of the ball this year. Other players like Katie Wirtzberger, Jessa Chvilicek and Sam Oliver will also be seniors ready to bring the heat to the Metra.

And the 17-1 record and undefeated Northeast A that the Ponies carry shows how well they have done this season, as well. With only one loss to Billings Central in week two, HHS has a reputation as a powerhouse in the Eastern A.

While two of those three teams, Havre and Billings Central, will be on one side of the bracket as mentioned, Hardin (17-1) will be facing off against Lewistown (3-14) tonight at 5:30 to meet either Glendive (11-6) or Laurel (12-6) in the semifinals at 6:30 p.m. Friday. The winners of the semifinal games will play in the Eastern A championship bout Saturday at 8 p.m.

It will not be an easy weekend for the blue and white, but Kraske knows what his team can do and should do this weekend to punch another ticket to state.

"We have to play hard, make your layups and free throws," Kraske said. "Defend well and have fun, it's as simple as that. I enjoy watching the kids play at the Metra."

In the end, the Blue Ponies, who were upset by Central in the Eastern A chipper last season, will have to face two tough teams in two games, win or lose, to make it back to the Class A state tournament at the Metra in March. Even so, HHS has a lot of promise to take it all once again this season and the quest for three starts at the Metra this week.

Havre will play Park or Miles City Thursday afternoon at the Metra in Billings at 3:30 p.m. The top four teams from the Eastern Advance to the Class A state tournament March 12-14 at the Metra.


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