Havre High girls stumble in season-opener at Laurel
Last updated 12/5/2022 at 8:23am
The Havre High girls basketball team has shown itself to be one of the best basketball programs in the state with two straight state championships coming into this season. As they begin their quest for a third, the Blue Ponies began the season with a road trip to Laurel this past Friday.
Just like in last season’s opener, the Locomotives played the Ponies tough. But this time, Laurel made just a few more plays to defeat Havre 54-51. Despite the loss, HHS head coach Dustin Kraske believes the Ponies played well to open the new season.
“Our kids played hard and battled a very nice Laurel team,” Kraske said. “We just had a few things down the stretch where they made plays and we ended up getting beat and that is what it is.”
The Ponies got the game started on the right foot with a bucket and a pair of free throws to start the game. A 3-pointer then made it 7-0 early in the game. But the Locomotives came back to take a 9-7 lead. Over the rest of the first quarter, the Ponies and Locomotives exchanged buckets until the game was tied 11-11.
The teams continued to exchange scores to start the second quarter until the game was tied 16-16. Laurel made back-to-back buckets to take a 20-16 lead, but the Ponies responded with a 5-0 run to take a 21-20 lead.
Over the next few minutes, the Ponies and Locomotives exchanged points and the lead. The Ponies were able to grab a 25-23 lead with about a minute and a half left in the first half. But the Locomotives went on a 5-0 run to take a 28-25 lead into halftime.
In the third quarter, the Ponies were unable to retake the lead. Every time they would score a bucket, the Locomotives responded with one of their own to retain the lead and momentum. Heading to the fourth quarter, Laurel held a 40-37 lead. In the second half, the Locomotives were just playing well on both ends of the court.
“They caused us to turn the basketball over and they scored in transition,” Kraske said. “They rebounded well and did a nice job. We got to do a better job of keeping them off the glass.”
It looked like the Locomotives might pull away as they stretched their lead to 52-45 with about three minutes left in the game. But the Ponies continued to battle. Quickly, the Ponies went on a 5-0 run to cut their deficit to 52-50 with just under two minutes left.
After Laurel scored to push the lead to 54-50, a free throw cut Havre’s deficit to 54-51 with under 39 seconds left in the game. After getting the ball back, the Ponies were looking to score to stay alive. But on their final possession, the Ponies were unable to get a good look from deep and their two-point attempt fell short as time expired.
With the loss, the Ponies start the season 0-1. While a loss is not what you want to open your season, Kraske believes there is plenty to learn from this game as they move forward into the rest of their year.
“Our rebounding is going to be some stuff that we’re going to work on this week,” Kraske said. “Offensively, we have to continue to get some competence playing together and then just stick with the fundamentals.”
The HHS girls basketball team will look to rebound when it hosts Billings Central at Havre High Gymnasium this Saturday at 4 p.m.
Laurel 54, Havre 51
HAV - 11 14 12 14 - 51
LAU - 11 17 12 14 - 54
HAV - Amaya Jarvis 16, Ariana Gary 11, Kyanna Jarvis 7, Avery Carlson 7, Tierra Parker 6, Lizzi Haney 2, Molly Huse 2.
LAU - Emma Timm 25, Alyse Aby 11, Sannah Windy Boy 9, Kaitlyn Dantic 3, Aubri Roth 2, Molly Cooney 2, Kaiya Graves 2.