By Tiffany L. Rehbein
Opposites attract, or so the saying goes.
Class B opposites, District 1B Fort Benton Longhorns and District 2B Glasgow Scotties, will both attract the Havre Blue Ponies girls basketball team this weekend.
The Blue Ponies meet the Longhorns in its 1999 home opener Friday and they will head east to Glasgow to take on the Scotties Saturday.
Fort Benton is really strong at the guards, head coach Dennis Murphy said. Theyre pretty guard oriented.
However, perimeter shooters and an outside game differ largely from the inside game that the Longhorns lost in 6-foot-5 center Kim Good who graduated last spring.
Murphy said the scrappy Longhorns, 1-1 overall, traditionally run a two-three zone defense but his Blue Ponies will prepare for both a zone and a man-to-man.
The Blue Ponies, behind the quickness of junior guard Nikki Baltrusch, will push the ball up the court in their up-tempo game style and the Blue Ponies will run their aggressive full-court press.
Tough defensive pressure caused 34 turnovers in last weekends action at Lewistown. The Blue Ponies, 1-1, split in the Central A season opener, losing first to the Beaverhead County Beavers 61-47. But, they redeemed themselves the following night to overpower the Anaconda Copperheads, 57-45.
Offensively, senior Tiffany Shrauger sparked the Blue Ponies against Anaconda as she tallied a career-high 27 points.
She is still shooting extremely well in practice, Murphy said. With that, we need consistency. I would rather see 14 every night rather than 22 one night and two the next. We really need to be more consistent on the offensive end.
Junior Alyssa Matter, who has grown offensively through the pre-season, led the Blue Ponies with 13 points against Dillon.
On the opposite end, the Glasgow Scotties, behind 6-foot-one Tonya Bergren, are a very post-oriented team.
Their inside is real strong, Murphy said. Theyve got a very good post player who does a great job.
The bigger Glasgow team also plays a physically aggressive defense.
Theyre like a AA school as far as their physicalness goes, Murphy said. They are always physical, always bumping you, they always have a hand on your jersey.
Defensively, last weekend senior Erin Patera ripped down seven rebounds for the Blue Ponies in the win over Anaconda. Five-foot-10 sophomore Jeri Matter also looks to step in offensively and defensively for Havre.
Im pleased with some of our younger players getting better, Murphy said. In my sophomores and juniors, Ive definitely seen the improvement and they continue to improve. There is definitely a difference from last week to this week as far as challenge in practice.
Juniors Samatha Velk, Breyon Briese, LaShae Michaels and five-foot-niners, sophomores, Amy Ranes and Jayla McPherson all look to see playing time for the Blue Ponies.
The Blue Ponies have been outrebounded by six boards per game and Murphy said he plans to make that a point of emphasis this weekend.
Glasgows bigger and Fort Benton is not as big, Murphy said. We just need to adjust one night to the next.