Basketball is all that Shane Patacsil has known and needed growing up
For many players on the Havre High boys basketball team, the game is life for them. That is especially true for Shane Patacsil, who grew up with the game of basketball thanks to his family. Along with his family getting him into the game, Patacsil fell in love with the game thanks to its popularity in Rocky Boy.
"Growing up on the reservation, basketball was a big thing," Patacsil said. "We just all played together and had fun and always went hard 24/7."
Since joining the HHS boys basketball program, Patacsil has dealt with plenty of changes through the seasons. Along with dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic during his freshman season, Patacsil has had to deal with new coaching staffs throughout his career.
But it has paid off as Patacsil is now an impact player for the Ponies this season. This year, he is averaging 9.1 points a game on 33.8 percent shooting from the field and he shoots 63 percent from the free-throw line. He also plays strong defense as he is second on the team with 36 total steals this season.
The Ponies' season nearly came to an end this past weekend at the Eastern A Divisional in Billings. But after losing their opening game of the tournament, the Ponies bounced back to win a pair of loser-out games to reach the consolation game and extend their season. In their two wins, Patacsil averaged 10.5 points a game. With their backs against the wall, Patacsil and the Ponies did not want to miss out on state.
"We wanted that same feeling of going to state like we did last year," Patacsil said. "We just wanted to be there again. We would just love to make it out to state one more time."
Because of their loss in the consolation game, the Ponies will have to play Columbia Falls in a play-in game this Saturday in Butte. With their season on the line once again, Patacsil believes there will be two keys to victory this weekend.
"Defense and boxing out are our biggest keys right now," Patacsil said. "I think if we just box out and execute some of our stuff, I think we'll be good."
If the Ponies defeat Columbia Falls this weekend, they would advance to the Class A State Tournament for the second straight year. If the Ponies reached state once again, Patacsil would be excited to compete on the grand stage that is Brick Breeden Fieldhouse.
"(I would look forward to) playing there and just having our fans come support us and supporting the girls also," Patacsil said. "I'm excited for both teams, Havre boys and girls. You don't see a lot of boys and girls teams both make it to state in one sitting."
Patacsil is a multi-sport athlete for the Ponies. He plays golf in the fall and he competes in track and field during the spring. While he loves all these sports, his focus right now is on basketball and the game ahead this weekend.
Patacsil and the Ponies will look to extend their season when they face Columbia Falls this Saturday at 2:30 p.m. at the Butte Civic Center. Before he and the Ponies head off to Butte, the Havre Daily News asked Patacsil five questions.
HDN: What is your favorite basketball memory?
Patacsil: "My favorite memory is beating my older brother in a one-on-one for the very first time. I had lost to him in probably over 50 one-on-ones and I beat him this most recent one for the very first time."
HDN: What do you love the most about basketball?
Patacsil: "I like the energy and the feeling that I get just from making a shot. It just gives you such a great feeling. And I especially love the fans. They just cheer you on and cheer your name. That's the best part about it."
HDN: What have you enjoyed the most about this season?
Patacsil: "I enjoy being around the guys. Having fun after game days and going to McDonald's and spending time together. That's one of my favorite parts. Some of the guys are really funny and I just like working out with them every single day."
HDN: What have you learned from your time in the HHS basketball program?
Patacsil: "I learned to take your time on stuff. Don't take things way too seriously and don't rush things that will just come to you. That's what I really learned and to work hard at everything you do."
HDN: Who is your favorite basketball player?
Patacsil: "My favorite basketball player is Kobe Bryant. I've had his jersey since I was little. A lot of people think I'm just a follower of him because of his recent passing but no, I've been a fan since I was younger. Me and my brother used to watch him all the time and I remember watching his 60-point game (in his final game). He was just one of my favorite players growing up."