Right now, the Havre High boys basketball team needs a win.
Things haven’t gone well as of late for the Blue Ponies, but they do have a shot at emerging from a tough stretch of losses with two good wins. Havre already defeated the conference rival Lewistown Golden Eagles, and non conference Shelby Coyotes early this season. The Ponies beat the Eagles 60-53 at home and beat the Coyotes 57-34 on the road.
Tonight, the Ponies (2-4/3-11) will face the Eagles on road. Saturday night, the Ponies will return to the Havre High gymnasium to host the Coyotes at 5 p.m.
“I think a win or two would give us huge motivation heading into Conrad, Browning, and then into divisional,” Havre head coach Curt Leeds said. “Really, winning in Lewistown would also solidify us getting third place.”
Conference games on the road always add to the tough task of earning a win. But after a win over the Eagles already, the Ponies know that if they play well, they should have what it takes to repeat. The Ponies have to play well on both sides of the ball, and they have to play for a complete 32 minutes. HHS almost did that the first time, but let the Eagles get back into contention with a 20 point third quarter.
Defense has been strong for the Ponies, even in their losses, so they will lean on that to get a win as well. Leeds is looking for his players to execute what they have worked on all season long. They need execute the full and half court presses when necessary, and depending on what Lewistown shows on offense, the Ponies have to be ready to play solid man or zone defense as well.
“We have to play together and keep working as a team,” Leeds said. “It is always tough playing Lewistown in Lewistown, so we have to keep our heads in the game and pick each other up on the court when things don’t go our way.”
On offense, the Ponies are looking to similar things in both matchups this weekend.
The Ponies are heavily favored against the Coyotes, so solid defense should open the doors for a food of offense. This weekend HHS is looking to play smart offense, meaning they need to move, screen, pass well, and knock down the open shots. They are going to get open looks from both Lewistown and Shelby, so Kade Rismon is going to have to ready to hit from inside, while Dane Warp, Nate Rismon, and Ramsey Drew continue to lead things from the guard positions. Jase Kato should also some extra minutes moving forward, as he continues play well, and grab much needed rebounds.
“When we are moving the ball, moving around, and cutting and screening, we play pretty well,” Leeds said. “But we are standing around, and start watching, we struggle. We need to do more to work and create shots for ourselves, rather than waiting for somebody else to create shots for us.
“They need to play well and gain some confidence,” Leeds said. “(Shelby) is one game that should spark us offensively because we are going to get open looks. Hopefully that will give us the confidence to keep putting the ball in the hole.”
The Ponies will face Lewistown on the road tonight, andwill host Shelby Saturday night at the Havre High gymnasium at 5 p.m. The HHS junior varsity team will also host the Turner varsity team Monday at 4 p.m.