The Havre High girl’s basketball team finally got the Class A State Tournament started on Thursday night in Bozeman. As the Blue Ponies look to win their third straight state championship, the Blue Ponies started strong with a 73-53 win over Browning.
Before the Ponies pulled away, it was back and forth throughout the first half. Thanks to some buckets from Amaya Jarvis and Yelena Miller, the Ponies took a 5-2 lead to start the game. But the Indians came right back to take a 9-6 lead. Jarvis responded with a 3-pointer to tie the game.
The Ponies and Indians continued to exchange buckets through the rest of the first quarter. With the game tied, 15-15, late in the first, Mecca Bullchild knocked down a shot to give the Indians the lead. But Jarvis responded with a bucket of her own to tie the game, 17-17, to end the first.
The Ponies started the second with a pair of quick buckets to take a 21-17 lead. After a Browning bucket, a free throw from Sierra Parker and back-to-back buckets from Miller stretched Havre’s lead to 26-19 late in the half.
But the Indians fought back with a 6-0 run to cut their deficit to 27-25 in the closing moments of the half. After a free throw from Jarvis, the Indians scored to tie the game, 27-27, heading into halftime.
After the Ponies lost the lead, Miller came out hot for the Ponies with three straight buckets to give her team a 33-27 advantage. The Indians responded with a run to cut Havre’s lead to 35-32, but the Ponies did not let go of momentum. Thanks to an 11-0 run, the Ponies pushed their lead out to 44-32 late in the third. Miller continued to roll with six points during this stretch. After Miller missed most of the season, HHS head coach Dustin Kraske is happy to have her back in time for the postseason.
"It's everything," Kraske said to 406 Sports. "Offensively it was obvious but defensively she is such a difference-maker. It's been fun watching that kid grow up the last four years."
The Ponies and Indians exchanged scores to end the third, but Havre took a 50-37 lead into the fourth. The Indians tried to come back and even cut the deficit to 57-47 halfway through the fourth. But the Ponies dominated the rest of the way to pull away for the win and advance to the semifinal.
Miller had a strong start to the tournament with 29 points for the Ponies. Jarvis also played well with 25 points in the win. Bullchild led the Indians with 16 points in the losing effort.
With their win, the Ponies will face Billings Central in the semifinal. The game will be a rematch of the last two state championship games that the Ponies won, so it should be a tough fight for a spot in the Class A State championship game later this weekend.
The HHS girl’s basketball will face Billings Central in the semifinal tonight at 5 p.m. at Brick Breeden Fieldhouse in Bozeman.
Havre 73, Browning 53
BRW - 17 10 10 16 - 53
HAV - 17 10 23 23 - 73
BRW - Mecca Bullchild 16, Sugar Spoonhunter 9, Lush Spoonhunter 9, Jerel White Grass 8, Amari Calfrobe 4, Shaylee Heavy Runner 4, Teslin Trombley 3.
HAV - Yelena Miller 27, Amaya Jarvis 23, Ariana Gary 7, Avery Carlson 6, Sierra Parker 5, Danni Wirtzberger 3.