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Rangers edge Ponies on day one of Eastern A boys tourney


February 27, 2020

The Havre High boys basketball team is bound and determined to make their first state tournament in four years. But if the Blue Ponies are going to do it, they'll now have to take the long road.

Wednesday afternoon inside First Interstate Bank Arena at the Metra, in the opening round of the Eastern A boys divisional tournament, the Ponies dropped a nail biter to former Central A rival Livingston, 54-47. The loss dropped Havre into the loser-out bracket where the Ponies will play either Glendive or Sidney Friday morning.

HHS also must now win back-to-back morning games to qualify for the Class A state tournament.

"We played a real good (Park) team," Havre head coach Walynn Burgess said. "I felt like we did a really good job defending (Brenden) Johnson, but we did have a few too many breakdowns on the defensive end."

Johnson is certainly one of the top players in Montana, and somebody Havre has been battling for years, given until this season, the Ponies and Rangers used to meet twice per year in the old Central A. Wednesday, though, Johnson scored just 15 points, while Nick Battrick did damage with 18.

Havre also kept things close throughout. The Rangers led 11-9 after one quarter, 24-22 at halftime and 38-35 through three. The Rangers then went on a 10-2 run in the fourth, and the Ponies never recovered.

Mason Rismon led the Blue Ponies (11-8) with 14 points, Josh Warp had 11, including three threes, and Kellen Detrick added 10.

Now, Havre will have a day off before playing in a do-or-die game against either the Red Devils, who the Ponies split with during the season, or Sidney, which they swept.

"Best thing about the divisional tournament is, we get to come back and play again Friday morning," Burgess said. "We get another chance."

In other opening day boys games at the Eastern A, Hardin beat Glendive and Laurel took out Sidney.

The Eastern A continues today, including the Havre High girls getting their tournament started against Livingston at 3:30 p.m.

Livingston 54, Havre 47

Livingston 11 13 14 16 - 54

Havre 9 13 13 12 - 47

LIVINGSTON: Nick Battrick 18; Brendon Johnson 15; Sage McMinn 11; Tristan Stenseth 6; Rylee Watt 5.

HAVRE: Mason Rismon 14; Josh Warp 11; Kellen Detrick 10; Jake Huston 9; Tyrel Kjersem 3.


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