The Havre High girls basketball team saw some resistance over its weekend home stand, but after beating the competition by a combined 34 points, the Blue Ponies put another stamp of dominance on the Central A Conference.
Two conference opponents were in Havre over the weekend, and the league leading Blue Ponies came away with both wins. HHS defeated the Belgrade Panthers 50-37 on Friday, and finished the weekend with a 61-40 win over the Livingston Rangers on Saturday. With the two wins Havre improved to 5-0 in the Central A and 7-4 overall.
“I was real pleased with the weekend,” Havre High head coach Dustin Kraske said. “And it was two very different games obviously. But I am proud of the kids and it really was a good weekend.”
Friday’s win over the Panthers had its share of scary moments for the Ponies, mostly in the first quarter.
The matchup got off to a very fast and physical start. In the opening eight minutes, the two squads combined for 13 fouls, and while the Ponies put up 12 points, they couldn’t shake the Panthers. The Panthers hit four of their first seven field goal attempts and finished the frame with nine points, trailing by three.
“Belgrade did a nice job adjusting against us,” Kraske said. “And they didn’t press as much as they did before. They made us play five on five, which was a good adjustment on their part, but I think our kids made some big plays down the stretch. We had a few moments of being unsure, but we finished strong.”
HHS went on to score 15 in the second quarter, 12 in the third and 11 in the fourth, playing very consistent. But the Pony defense also stepped up and helped the Ponies seal the deal, allowing just seven points in the third quarter. The defensive adjustments by Belgrade forced the Ponies to hit jump shots, not score on layups like they did in Belgrade. But the guards responded, as Peyton Filius led with 16 points, and Lacey Waid pitched in nine, and Morgan Mazurkiewicz, Brandy Lambourne and Tori Mazurkiewicz combined for another 14.
“We just need the kids to run our stuff I think,” Kraske said. “And Peyton did that, she read screens very well, but we didn’t quite go side to side as much as I liked, but we still continued to attack and play. That was key down the stretch.
“We all take turns having big games,” Filius said. “And it just depends on who is on that night. But our defense is definitely important when our offense comes out slow, it means everybody has to step up. But we focus a lot on defense in practice and we rely on that.”
But the defensive effort also carried over into the dominating win over the Rangers.
The Blue Ponies’ defense really pestered both squads over the weekend, but really shut down the Rangers. Livingston did post 18 in the fourth quarter, but by that time, the Havre subs were already in the game earning valuable varsity experience.
And there was no real key to success for the Ponies on Saturday, as they dominated the Rangers on offense and defense. It was simply a dominating outing for the stronger HHS squad.
“This was a big win,” Waid said. “We always talk about ourselves, and we never talk about anybody else, it always about us, what we do well, and what we can do to improve.”
The offensive balance also rolled over to the second game of the weekend, as the Ponies had three girls finish in double digits. Morgan Mazurkiewicz led the team with 15, while Waid finished with 12 and Filius finished with 11. Lambourne wasn’t far behind with her seven. Morgan mazurkiewicz had a great day behind the three-pint line, knocking down four treys.
“That (balance) is important.” Waid said. “Everybody can shoot, and everybody can take it inside strong, basically everybody can score from everywhere.
“I think that if a kid can score a little bit in a game,” Kraske added. “It raises their level of confidence. And I would say that tonight we had a couple of youngsters that shot the ball much better than they have been. Lacey Waid is a prime example, I thought she had a great game, and weekend really. But that is how she practices, so that is nice to get her some game confidence. But it was a team effort and that was great to see.”
The two conference wins were huge for the Ponies, as they look to earn back to back conference titles. But if the defense keeps performing like it has, and the offense keeps improving, the Ponies could also find themselves making a nice run in the post season.
The Ponies will face two non conference opponents this week. HHS will travel to Great Falls on Thursday to face the GFH Bison, but will return home on Saturday to host the CMR Rustlers.
Havre 50, Belgrade 37
Belgrade 9 10 7 11 – 37
Havre 12 15 12 11 – 50
Belgrade — Clingingsmith 6, HIrsch 3, Fowler 9, Singleton 6, Holliday 4, Woolman 9.
Havre — Brandy Lambourne 4, Morgan Mazurkiewicz 7, Lacey Waid 9, Peyton Filius 16, Tori Mazurkiewicz 3, Haley Olin 4, P. Bischoff 7.
Havre 61, Livingston 40
Livingston 8 2 12 18 – 40
Havre 17 13 19 12 – 61
Livingston – Emily Fochs 1, Megan Schoenen 14, Katie Buckley 3, Macy Ricketts 9, Meadow Ingram 4, Callie Ellingson 5, Chelsea Woods 3, Mariel Kelley 1.
Havre – Breck Don 2, Brandy Lambourne 7, Harlee Coucher 4, Morgan Mazurkiewicz 15, Lacey Waid 12, Peyton Filius 11, Tori mazurkiewicz 2, Haley Ohm 4, Neya Bischoff 4.