HHS Girls Basketball State Champs 2014
The Havre Blue Ponies took home the 2014 Class A State Basketball first place trophy and proved to everyone that they are the very best in Montana. Here is a review of just how their season went.
2 March 2014 STATE GIRLS BASKETBALL CHAMPS tional Class A state tourney run, I still fell short as a journalist, and quite frankly, for one night, I don’t really care. Where I came up short was in my bias. Yes, I can admit, here and now, I’m biased when it comes to Havre High. Even though I was there to cover the game for the Havre Daily News, I can fully admit, I wanted the Blue Ponies to win, and I was as happy as anyone in that building when they did. Did I cross the lines of journalistic integrity that night? No. I did my job. I didn’t cheer, I didn’t say a word during the game, and as always, I didn’t wear any Havre High gear of any kind. On the outside, I was just another reporter there to cover the last game of the Class A high school girls basketball season. But on the inside, it was a whole different story Saturday night. I was a nervous wreck for 32 minutes, I was jumping up and down in my brain every time Havre made another big shot, got a huge steal or forced Hamilton into a tough shot that didn’t fall. In my head, I was up in the Four Seasons Arena bleachers with the other 1,000 or so Blue Pony fans going nuts. And when that buzzer sounded, and Brandy Lambourne threw the ball high into the air, when the Ponies rushed the floor and erupted into a wild celebration, I felt the same emotions that every other Blue Pony fan in the building or listening on the radio did. I felt the same joy the rest of Blue Pony nation did. For me, that’s really rare. Probably the last time I was overcome with a biased emotion like Saturday night was when the MSU-Northern men’s basketball team captured the Frontier Conference championship in Havre in 2011. Before that, it was probably when MSU-N beat Carroll in football and before that, it was probably when Havre High beat Billings Central for the Class A football state championship in 2004. That’s only four times in the hundreds and hundreds of games I’ve covered over my career, so you know what, I’m just fine with that. I won’t, and didn’t, lose any sleep over feeling so much joy and pride at Saturday night’s championship game. And why did I feel the way I did? Because like most of you reading this, I’m from Havre, I’m a Blue Pony, and I will always believe one of the reasons I’m good at my job is because I got a solid education from Havre High School. And there’s another reason Saturday night felt so good for me. I know these kids, and I know these coaches. I’ve covered them, and I’ve coached them in tennis, and I’ve watched them grow up and I know how hard they work and how much they deserved to hoist that championship trophy. My job allows me the insight into the world of these kids and these great coaches, and I know and get to see just how special this Havre High girls basketball team is, and has been for a long time. When you get to see it from that perspective, you can’t help but be overjoyed when you see them do something as remarkable as what they did this past weekend in Great Falls. I might be a sports writer, but I’m still a person with a heart, and my heart was bursting with happiness Saturday night. 2014 CLASS A www.havredailynews.com HHS girls made all of us Blue Ponies proud From the Fringe... George Ferguson Sports Editor I’ll just get this off my chest right now. Saturday night at the Four Seasons Arena in Great Falls, I wasn’t a very good journalist. No, I’m not ashamed to admit it. Now, I’m not saying I didn’t do my job to the best of my abilities because, in a not-overconfident manner, I feel like I knocked my coverage of the Havre High girls basketball state championship out of the park. I feel like I, along with Daniel Horton and his outstanding basketball photography skills, did a stellar job of covering the Blue Ponies’ run to their first state title in 17 years. Cocky? No. Just confident in my skills, kind of like how the Blue Ponies were certainly confident in beating Hamilton Saturday night. But, as confident and as happy as I am with my coverage of this weekend’s emo- They Did It! Havre 52, Hamilton 43 (1st) Havre 10 11 9 22 — 52 Hamilton 6 11 5 21 — 43 Havre – Brandy Lambourne 10-15 2-4 25, Dani Wagner 2-3 0-0 4, Morgan Mazurkiewicz 2-8 5-6 9, Lacey Waid 1-4 0-0 2, Peyton Filius 1-7 2-2 5, Tori Mazurkiewicz 2-3 1-4 5, Haley Ohm 1-2 0-0 2. Totals: 19-42 10-16. Hamilton – McKayl Rothie 1-1 0-0 3, Taylor Goligoski 4-13 4-6 13, Ellie Hurlbert 1-2 0-0 2, Jaylee Albert 5-12 3-4 13, Kloie Nye 1-1 0-0 3, Kali Hayes 2-4 0-0 6, Brianna Huggans 0-2 1-2 1, Sami Kratofil 1-3 0-0 2. Totals: 15-38 8-12. Total fouls: Havre 14, Hamilton 16. Fouled out: None. Three pointers: Havre 4-11 (Lambourne 3-4, M. Mazurkiewicz 0-2, Filius 1-5); Hamilton 5-14 (Rothie 1-1, Goligoski 1-4, Hurlbert 0-1, Albert 0-3, Nye 1-1, Hayes 2-4). Rebounds: Havre 22 (Lambourne 7); Hamilton 22 (Albert 8). Assists: Havre 15 (M. Mazurkiewicz 6); Hamilton 13 (Albert 9). Turnovers: Havre 7 (Filius 3); Hamilton 12 (Albert 5). Steals: Havre 3 (Lambourne 1, Wagner 1, Ohm 1); Hamilton 3 (Goligoski 1, Albert 1, Hayes 1). I was happy for Dustin Kraske, who I’ve known for a long, long time. I was happy for his assistant coaches, who put in the long and hard hours to help these kids realize their potential and their dreams. I was happy for the town of Havre and for the entire Havre High community, because these moments are rare. Moments like Saturday night don’t happen that often, in Havre or Box Elder or Great Falls or Billings or anywhere else. State championships don’t come often, and when they do, they are truly great. But most importantly, I was happy for every player wearing a Blue Pony uniform Saturday night. Every basketball player dreams of winning a state championship, but not all of them work hard enough or become a team that can get the job done, and even some that do those things, still don’t get to achieve it. But this Blue Pony team did work hard enough. They were devoted enough. They did form the kind of team chemistry and bond that it takes to be great. And when that happens, when night’s like Saturday night roll around, you’d have to not have a heart in order to not feel the emotions of the moment. No, Saturday night was one of those very rare and very special moments. It was a night where you feel nothing but elation and happiness, no matter what your profession is. Saturday night was about a great group of kids, coming together to do something extraordinary. And it just so happened, it said Havre on the front of the jersey. For me, Kraske summed it up best, short and simple not long after the game ended. “I’m really proud to be a Blue Pony,” he said. Me too, Dustin. Me too. Havre Daily News/Daniel Horton Twin sisters Morgan, top, and Tori Mazurkiewicz embrace as the buzzer sounds on Saturday night's Class A state championship game in Great Falls. For full coverage, see today's sports pages. Havre 43, Laurel 28 (sf) Laurel 8 4 5 11 — 28 Havre 14 5 7 17 — 43 Laurel – Lexi Lewis 1-3 0-2 2, Allie McGrath 4-13 8-10 18, Taylor Ludwig 1-1 0-0 2, Dalayna Christenson 1-5 0-0 2, Paige Hodges 0-2 0-0 0, Abbie Lohof 1-4 2-2 4. Totals: 8-28 10-14 28. Havre – Brandy Lambourne 5-8 5-8 19, Dani Wagner 1-1 0-0 2, Morgan Mazurkiewicz 3-5 7-9 14, Lacey Waid 1-6 0-2 2, Peyton Filius 1-6 1-2 4, Haley Ohm 1-2 0-0 2. Totals: 12-28 13-21 43. Total fouls: LAU 18, HAV 12. Fouled out: none. Technical fouls: none. 3-point goals: LAU 2-7 (McGrath 2), HAV 6-13 (Lambourne 4, M. Mazurkiewicz, Filius). Rebounds: LAU 26 (Christenson 7), HAV 17 (Waid 3, Filius 3). Assists: LAU 4 (Lewis 2, Ludwig 2), HAV 11 (Filius 3, M. Mazurkiewicz 3). Turnovers: LAU 15, HAV 6. Steals: LAU 1 (McGrath), HAV 2 (Waid, Filius). Blocked shots: none. Havre Daily News/Daniel Horton The Havre High state champion girls basketball team poses for a photo aboard a city of Havre fire truck Sunday afternoon at Havre High School. 3 March 2014 State champions whom have been playing together since middle school. “I’m very proud of this team,” Blue Pony head coach Dustin Kraske said. “And I’m very happy for these kids. This is a special group. They’ve worked very hard over the years, and they deserve this. I’m happy for our community and our school. I’m just very proud to be a Blue Pony. “I don’t think it has hit us all ye t , ” s a i d H H S j u n i o r To r i Mazurkiewicz. “It is amazing and is the best feeling I have ever had, and the feeling built up. We were all looking at each other, smiling, because we knew we finally did it. All the work finally paid off.” H av re wa s i n d e e d s p e c i a l against the Broncs Saturday night, led by Brandy Lambourne’s 25 points. Lambourne, who was easily the state tourney MVP, paced the Ponies in scoring in all three of their state tourney wins. S h e s t a r t e d w i t h 21 p o i n t s Thursday night against Frenchtown, and dropped 19 in Havre’s semifinal victory over Laurel Friday night. Against Hamilton, she hit three critical 3-pointers, including one just before the end of the first half, and another as time expired on the third quarter. That trey was a dagger as Hamilton had crept within to within five points just before she hit the shot. But as spectacular as Lambourne played all weekend, she was just excited to be a piece of what turned out to be a great HHS team, a team which won its last seven games of the season, culminating with Saturday night’s state championship. “We are all really good friends, and that really helped us out late in the season,” the four-year starter said. “We just kept talking throughout the entire weekend, and we were always pushing each other during the timeouts. We peaked at the right time for sure.” Morgan Mazurkiewicz added nine points and five critical free t hrows fo r t he Po nie s, while P e y t o n F i l i u s a n d To r i Mazurkiewicz scored five each and sophomore Dani Wagner added four points in the historic victory. And a historic victory it was. Havre, led by Kraske, was playing in its third straight state tournament, had won three consecutive Central A championships and had reached the state semifinals one year ago. That was already a great list of accomplishments, but Saturday night, the Ponies and their five seniors put a final exclamation point on what had already been a tremendous ride. “They’ve put in hundreds of h o u rs i n t h e g y m , t h ey ’ ve worked hard individually and ■ See State Champs Page 27 STATE GIRLS BASKETBALL CHAMPS 2014 CLASS A www.havredailynews.com Blue Ponies bring first Class A girls state title back to Havre in 17 years George Ferguson email@example.com GREAT FALLS — State championships of any kind are hard to c o m e by. T h ey d o n ’ t h a p p e n e v e r y d a y. A n d t h a t ’ s w h y Saturday night in Great Falls will be a night the Havre High girls basketball team, and Blue Pony fans everywhere, will never forget. In front of a huge Havre contingent, with a raucous HHS student section, band and cheer squad, the Blue Pony girls won their first state championship in 17 years Saturday night at the Four Seasons Arena, defeating the Hamilton Broncs 52-43 in the 2014 Class A state championship game. The win was Havre’s fourthever state title in girls basketball, with the last one coming in 1997 when the Blue Ponies beat Dillon for the Class A state title. But Saturday night, in exciting fashion, HHS ended that drought, and the win over the Broncs was the culmination of a great journey for the Blue Ponies, many of Havre Daily News/Daniel Horton The Havre High girls basketball team celebrates winning the 2013-14 Class A state championship Saturday night at the Four Seasons Arena in Great Falls. The Blue Ponies won their first title in 17 years, beating Hamilton 52-43. Watching a special group of Ponies was a treat Kick the Beat... Daniel Horton Sports Writer The best part about seeing a local high school team win a state championship is that the excitement doesn’t fade or get lost in the shuffle. No matter how many times the accomplishment is reached by Havre High teams, and by surrounding schools, it never gets old. Just recently, I was somehow fortunate enough to watch the Blue Pony wrestling team win a Class A state title, the Box Elder Bears win a Class C boys state basketball title, and most recently, of course, the Blue Pony girls win a Class A state basketball title. And being a part of the experience, I know I am a distant part, but being a part of the experience does not get old. It's hard to see a team that I have watched grow for the last several years come up short at the state tournament. I've covered sports long enough to have that happen a time or two. You know how the saying goes ... you can't win them all. But I didn’t have to go through that again this weekend in Great Falls when the Pony girls finished the season as the best team in the state. I know first-hand that this group of girls deserved this title, it wasn’t just a fluky weekend or an unseen hot streak. For many of the HHS seniors, it was four years of hard work, and literally, blood, sweat and tears at the varsity level under head coach Dustin Kraske. But I have been around this team long enough to know that each and every single girl who was suited up during Saturday night’s championship has put in the time necessary to be crowned best of the best. Seniors Breck Don, Brandy Lambourne, Lacey Waid, Peyton Filius and Haley Ohm deserved this opportunity, and they took full advantage. But juniors Morgan and Tori Mazurkiewicz have also been at the varsity level for three years, and they too have put in the countless hours it took to hold the No. 1 trophy over their heads. Dani Wagner also played a key part part in the historic run, as did Naomi Terry, Lindsey Kudrna and Holly Purkett. I am not yet as familiar with some of the underclassmen, but if they learned anything from the veteran HHS girls, I wouldn’t be surprised if they were hoisting another trophy in the near future. For me, as a close observer of the Ponies, it was just a fun and exciting time for me in Great Falls this weekend. I enjoyed watching the once young and timid athletes like Lambourne grow into a dominating force on the hardwood. She had one of the better three-game stretches I have seen out of a prep athlete, and I remember watching the likes of her, Filius and Waid as freshmen help carry the varsity load. They are the perfect example of hard work and dedication paying off. And, hopefully, Havre won’t have to wait another 17 years to bring home a state basketball title, boys or girls. I think it is safe to say that Havre is a sports town, and the community support was alive and well during the title game and even in the parade to follow on Sunday evening. The Blue Pony girls should be proud of their accomplishment, it is something that most prep athletes will never get to feel. I know I am proud of the effort that I saw, and am just happy that I could witness a great group of athletes and coaches achieve a common goal. And I'm excited that I got to see a Havre High girls basketball team, a very deserving one, achieve their dream Saturday night. 4 March 2014 Ponies beat Broncs for Class A title George Ferguson Havre Daily News sports editor firstname.lastname@example.org GREAT FALLS — Sometimes, history takes a while to repeat itself. In the case of girls basketball at Havre High school, it took 17 years. As it turned out, the wait was well worth it. Saturday night at the Four Seasons Arena in Great Falls, the Havre High girls basketball team capped a dominating performance at the Class A state tournament by beating Hamilton 52-43 in the state championship game. The state championship is Havre’s first in girls basketball since the 1997 school year, and it's the school’s fourth overall. Saturday night’s win over Hamilton was the culmination of an incredible run by the senior-laden Blue Ponies, a run which started with two blowout wins and a third straight Central A title two weeks ago in Belgrade, and ended with three straight nights of tremendous basketball in Great Falls. "I'm so proud of the kids, I’m just so happy for them," Havre High head coach Dustin Kraske said. "I'm proud of them for all the hard work and effort that it takes to be great. These kids have done all those things. And tonight, they were great. At this tournament, they were great." “I can’t even describe this, it feels just so surreal right now,” added Pony senior and four-year starter Peyton Filius. “I just feel like we have accomplished the goal we have been working towards for a few years now, and all of our hard work has paid off. We were just so close in the past, and I don’t know, this is just so amazing I don’t how to describe it.” The goal of winning a state championship has been in the minds of this particular Blue Pony squad for several seasons now. But it really started to become a reality when the Ponies ousted defending state champion Laurel 43-28 in Friday night’s semifinal game. That win set up Saturday’s meeting with Hamilton, the Southwest A champion and, from there, the Ponies took destiny into their own hands. And the Ponies did it with defense. Havre had played great defense all weekend, and that didn’t change against the high-powered Broncs. The Ponies set the tone for the game by holding Hamilton to six points in the first quarter. They also held Hamilton to just 37 percent shooting for the night, forced 12 turnovers, many coming in the first half, and held star scorer Taylor Goligoski to just 4-of-13 shooting and 13 points. “Hamilton has a fantastic team,” Kraske said. “They are extremely well-coached and are a very classy program. And for anyone to win a state championship, you know you’re going to have to beat a great team like Hamilton is. You know you have to play very well on that night. And I think that’s what I’m most proud of is these kids did that. They played very well when we had to. We played great, in a great game against a great team.” Great is one of the many words to describe how the Ponies played. Senior Haley Ohm scored an early bucket to spark the Havre offense, while, for the second straight night, sophomore Dani Wagner came off the bench and got an early score of her own as HHS led 10-6 at the end of the first. And while Havre was clamping down on defense, the Pony offense started to roll near the end of the first half. Wagner scored again to put HHS up 12-9, and an inside move by Morgan Mazurkiewicz gave the Ponies a 16-11 lead with four minutes left. But, as she did all weekend, senior Brandy Lambourne would deliver some momentumshifting blows, starting with a 3-pointer just before the first half ended. The triple sent the Ponies into halftime with a 21-17 lead, and Lambourne, who poured in a game-high 25 points, and was clearly the MVP of the state tournament, was just getting started. “I didn’t play scared, and I played aggressive all the way around,” Lambourne said. “No matter what happened throughout the game. I just kept taking deep breaths to calm my nerves and that’s all it took.” And with Lambourne and the Ponies playing calm, Hamilton could do little to stop them in the second half. Filius opened the third with a three, and Lambourne came up with another dagger to close it when she buried her second trey of the night with just :05 left on the clock. That arcing shot from the top of the key sent HHS into the fourth period with a 30-22 edge. Lambourne then opened what was a fastpaced fourth with a baseline layup to give the Ponies a 10-point lead. Hamilton rallied twice in the period, the first coming by way of a 9-3 run that was sparked by Jaylee Albert and finished by a Sami Kratofil jumper. At that point, the Broncs trailed 37-34 with just over four minutes to go, but Lambourne took over again. She answered with her third three, then grabbed a steal and went coast-to-coast to put HHS back up by eight. The Broncs would hit another three, but four Morgan Mazurkiewicz free throws gave Havre some distance. Hamilton’s Kloie Nye would drain one more bomb to make the score 48-43 with 1:07 left, but fittingly, Lambourne iced the game with a layup and a free throw following Nye’s trey, and less than a minute later, the Ponies and their huge throng of fans were celebrating wildly in the middle of the famed Four Seasons Arena floor. “It is awesome that all these fans were supporting us and behind us all season long. This is just awesome,” Lambourne said. “I threw the ball up (at the buzzer) and I don’t know what was going through my head, it was just pure excitement. I looked over at Peyton (Filius), and we were just waiting for the buzzer to sound, it was crazy. It was the longest final seconds ever. “I didn’t let those outside shots that they (Broncs) were taking bother me,” she added. “We just moved on to the next play and took it from there.” “It’s amazing, it is awesome, it’s crazy and it really hasn’t sunk in all the way. It has and it hasn’t,” added Morgan Mazurkiewicz, who made five foul shots in the final two minutes STATE GIRLS BASKETBALL CHAMPS 2014 CLASS A www.havredailynews.com ■ See Big Blue Page 31 5 March 2014 A special team becomes champions George Ferguson Havre Daily News sports editor email@example.com GREAT FALLS — There are moments in sports when things just come together. When dreams are realized and history is made. The 2014 Havre High girls basketball team had one of those moments Saturday night in Great Falls. In beating the Hamilton Broncs 52-43 Saturday night at the Four Seasons Arena, the Havre girls were crowned Class A state champions for the first time since 1997. That team, coached by Dennis Murphy and led by Loree Payne, one of the greatest female basketball players in Montana prep history, wasn’t just the last team to win a state championship, but was also the last HHS team to ever even play for a title. But that all changed Saturday night. And just like back in 1997, Havre is now the best Class A girls basketball team in Montana and the Ponies have the trophy, the nets and the memories to prove it. “We just had to focus up and get more stop at the end,” said senior Peyton Filius. “That was all it was, we just had to refocus. We had the game under control the whole time, we just had to tighten up, keep finding the open girl, and we had the answer for them every time they made a run.” The Ponies had all the answers Saturday night. Every time Hamilton got close, Havre answered, whether it was the amazing show put on by Brandy Lambourne, a 3-pointer by Filius to start the second half, a late layup by Lacey Waid, an early one by Haley Ohm, five free throws late by Morgan Mazurkiewicz, or her finding sister Tori wide open underneath the basket, a relentless and suffocating defense, or just the spirit, confidence and determination the Ponies played with all weekend long, Havre continually had answers. “I think the focus and drive of our seniors led us here,” noted HHS head coach Dustin Kraske. “Our senior leadership at the end of the year was incredible. And every player on this team knew their role, accepted their role and went out every game determined to help this team be as successful as possible. I’m very proud of every player on this team for that. This group is special, they truly are a team.” Special only begins to describe what Havre achieved this weekend in Great Falls. The Ponies didn’t just beat Hamilton Saturday night, or Laurel Friday night or Frenchtown Thursday, for three days in Great Falls, Havre was simply the very best Class A basketball team in Montana, and no one will ever be able to take that away from them. “It is amazing, this is a great experience, and I am so glad that I got to play with this team,” said sophomore Dani Wagner, who was one of the key contributors for the Ponies all weekend long. “Brandy, Peyton, Lacey, Haley, Breck (Don), they push me every day, and it was just awesome. This is so awesome.” Indeed. Saturday night was awesome for everyone involved with the Blue Ponies and Havre High athletics. History was accomplished in the Four Seasons Arena, and Kraske, while earning his first state championship in what has already been a long and successful coaching career, knew exactly what his players felt Saturday night, and exactly what they’ll feel for the rest of their lives. That’s because 20 years ago, he was part of the same kind of history as a player on the 1994 Havre High boys state championship team. “There’s no greater feeling than what they’re feeling right now,” Kraske said. “For me personally, these kids make this what it is. They STATE GIRLS BASKETBALL CHAMPS 2014 CLASS A www.havredailynews.com Havre Daily News/Daniel Horton Havre High head coach Dustin Kraske gives instructions during Saturday night's Class A title game in Great Falls. Kraske has now won a state title as a Pony player and as a head coach. are such great kids; they make it easy to coach them. It’s been very special to coach each and every one of them. “To win one as a player,” he continued, “I know exactly what they’re feeling right now. And it’s a great, great feeling.” 6 Ponies bust the Broncs Havre throttles Frenchtown, gets a shot at Laurel in Class A semifinals tonight George Ferguson Havre Daily News sports editor firstname.lastname@example.org minded Broncs to just 26 percent shooting and one 3-pointer. Havre’s swarming man defense also forced the Broncs into 18 turnovers. “That’s pretty much who we want to be,” Pony head coach Dustin Kraske said. “In every game, our goal is to play well defensively, and tonight, boy, the kids sure played fantastic defense. “Frenchtown is a very good team, with very good players,” he added. “But I just think we worked really hard defensively. We communicated well, we helped, we were focused with our assignments, and when we play defense like we did tonight, things usually go pretty well for us. So I’m really proud of how hard we played and how well we played on that end.” Defensively, Havre was brilliant, but the Ponies weren’t too shabby on offense either. And it started right away. A fast-break layup by senior Haley Ohm sparked an 8-0 first-quarter run for HHS, and while a Kayla Blood 3-pointer stopped the run, the Ponies took a 14-11 lead at the end of the first period as sophomore Dani Wagner scored two buckets at the end of the quarter. While the game was tight for a moment, Havre’s path to the semis was paved by an even more dominant second stanza. Morgan Mazurkiewicz started a 14-0 Havre run with a quick deuce. And Havre’s defense did the work from there. During the run, HHS got three scores off steals, two by Brandy Lambourne and another by Waid, and by the time the barrage ended, the Ponies led 30-12. Frenchtown did make some free throws late in the period, but the Pony defense held the Broncs to just one field goal over the second eight minutes and Havre took a commanding 35-22 lead into intermission. “I was pleased with the way we played on offense,” Kraske said. “We did a nice job of attacking the basket, and we did a great job of shooting free throws. But our defense keyed a lot of that. We played so hard on that end, that eventually it led to some easy baskets and it also caused Frenchtown to have to work really hard on offense and that helped us on the offensive end.” The Broncs tried to make a game of it, getting a couple of Vanessa Stavish baskets early in the third quarter. But it was too little too late, and when Peyton Filius buried a three as the third-quarter buzzer went off, Havre led 47-28. And while Filius’ shot wowed the partisan HHS crowd, it was again the Pony defense which made the difference as they held the Broncs to just six points in the third. On the flip side, Frenchtown had too much trouble stopping the Ponies, in particular Lambourne, who, playing in her third straight state tourney, scored a game-high 21 points and went a sparkling 11-of-12 from the charity stripe. Filius added two threes and scored 12 points, while Waid chipped in with six. Wagner scored six points and also led the Ponies with eight rebounds. As a team, the Ponies shot 56 percent from the floor and went an outstanding 28-of-33 from the foul line. HHS also out-rebounded the physical Broncs 32-21 and held Stavish, the Broncs’ star scorer to just 4-of-16 shooting and 15 points. It was a complete performance by a veteran Blue Pony team, and that performance propels the Ponies into a semifinal rematch with the Locomotives, and that’s something Lambourne and the rest of the team is looking forward to. Laurel, which beat Anaconda 52-38 Thursday night, beat the Ponies in last year’s state tournament on the way to winning it all. Now, Havre gets its chance to rewrite the story. “We didn’t have any nerves tonight,” Lambourne said. “And it showed because we played good. And we won’t be nervous tomor■ See Broncs Page 31 March 2014 STATE GIRLS BASKETBALL CHAMPS 2014 CLASS A www.havredailynews.com GREAT FALLS — Opening games of a state basketball tournament aren’t supposed to be easy. But the veteran Havre High girls basketball team sure made it look that way Thursday night in Great Falls. Facing the high-scoring Frenchtown Broncs in the first round of the 2014 Class A state tournament Thursday night at the Four Seasons Arena in Great Falls, the Blue Ponies used a stifling defensive effort, a stellar performance from the foul line and two big firsthalf runs to earn a dominating 60-41 win. The victory over Frenchtown pushed Havre (156) into tonight’s semifinals where the Ponies face defending Class A champion Laurel for a spot in Saturday night’s state championship game. “It feels really, really good. It’s really exciting,” HHS senior Lacey Waid said of the Ponies’ second straight first-round victory. “We had a few ups and downs tonight, but for the most part we pulled through and played really well.” The Ponies did play well, especially on the defensive end where they held the offensive- Brandy Lambourne and Peyton Filius, Havre's dynamic duo Daniel Horton Havre Daily News sports writer email@example.com As far as 1-2 punches go on the basketball court, Havre High’s Peyton Filius and Brandy Lambourne have become pretty good at playing together. No, after four high school basketball seasons together, they’ve become one of the best and most dangerous tandems in Class A. And it has been that way for the last six years, since the two began playing together in the seventh grade. Since that time at Havre Middle School, both Filius and Lambourne have come together as good friends and teammates on and off the court, especially the last four years for coach Dustin Kraske and the Havre High Blue Ponies. But if you ask the dynamic duo what they think of each other, it is almost like they are describing themselves as well. It’s second nature for the duo to give credit to each other, and it’s become second nature for them to play together and play well. “She is a really good basketball player,” Lambourne said when asked about her senior teammate. “A really great leader, and she can see the floor really well. She is just a good player all-around for sure, and she really gets on the team when we need it. She is a vocal leader, and I think I am a quiet leader, so I think we really just balance each other out.” “She is our point guard; she is a really good ball handler and a great leader,” Filius went on to say about Lambourne. “She is really fun to play with because she is such a smart player and a really good teammate.” Chemistry between players and teammates doesn’t happen overnight. In some cases, no matter how long two players compete together, the chemistry doesn’t always gel. But chemistry, and the ability to play well together has never been a problem for Lambourne and Filius, who will continue to be a dynamic duo together in college. Shortly after joining forces in seventh grade, after Lambourne moved to Havre from Arizona, the chemistry between these two friends propelled them into two separate and conjoined careers at the prep level. Nearing the end of their senior season, the two will lead the Ponies into their third state tournament. Filius and Lambourne have been compared to one another often, both in their skills and playing styles. Both have been named First Team All-Conference players in the past, while Filius even garnered All-State honors last season as a junior. And while both are speedy guards, who stand at 5-5 and can score from all over the floor, this year, both guards are also scoring an equal 13 points per game. Filius shoots 41 percent from two-point range while Lambourne is shooting 51 percent. Lambourne is shooting 34 percent from 3-point range while Filius is right at 30 percent. Both are also leading the team with their free-throw percentage, steals and assists. But as much as they are compared on a game-to-game basis, and the two styles may be similar, their differences also compliment each other very well. “She (Filius) can penetrate and pull up for a mid-range jumper really, really well,” Lambourne said. “I don’t have that, I mean I try to, but I just don’t have that right now, I typically either get to the basket, get to the free-throw-line, or kick the ball to a shooter when I drive. But I always know where she is at or where she is going. I never have to worry where she is going to be.” Filius agreed they play similar, but different as well. “I think we can both handle the ball well in pressure situations,” Filius said. “But she is definitely more the point guard for our team and I am more of a shooting guard for our team. But I also think she did a better job of getting to the free-throwline this season. Our similar styles help us, and I think we can both see the floor really well. And we have been on tournament teams together since she moved here in the seventh grade, so we have pretty much spent all summer together and all basketball season together since we were 12.” And while the run of great games and performances started when they were just 12 years old, the run could continue over the next four or even five years right here in Havre. The two talented guards previously announced they would both play for the Montana State University-Northern Skylights and coach Chris Mouat after graduating HHS later this year. “Those two kids together are great,” Havre High head coach Kraske said. “They are great as individual players, they were so easy Double Trouble 7 March 2014 STATE GIRLS BASKETBALL CHAMPS 2014 CLASS A www.havredailynews.com Havre Daily News/Daniel Horton Havre High's Brandy Lambourne, left, and Peyton Filius have been a Blue Pony tandem for the last four years, but they've been playing together and have been friends even longer. Though today marks the start of their last weekend of high school basketball together, they will go on to college as a tandem as well, as both are headed to play for the MSU-Northern Skylights. to coach and they do their best every time they play. They work hard every day, and it has just been four years of that for me. Yeah, we have had our rough days over the four years, but as far as kids that want to be good players and want to be coached, I couldn’t ask for any more out of them. It is going to be sad for me when this weekend is over and I am done coaching them, but exciting because we get to watch them play beyond this year. Coach Mouat has a great program going, and he couldn’t get two better kids to add to what he is doing in my opinion.” There was never a set plan in motion to continue their careers together, but some things just seem to work out, and as future Skylights, Lambourne and Filius will be right at home with each other. Almost every Frontier Conference school came knocking at both Filius and Lambourne’s door, but the best fit seemed to be right here with the Skylights. Lambourne said she always knew it was a slim possibility, but had hoped they would end up together in the college ranks. Filius also thought about it, but thought it was a slim chance with Lambourne being from Arizona. When Lambourne signed first, it opened the door wide open for the two to reunite next year on the hardwood. But as friendly as the two standouts are on and off the court, they are both extremely competitive. They both go head to head in drills during practice, and if a game of H.O.R.S.E. breaks out, watch out, because it is anybody’s game. “It is probably 50/50,” Filius said. “It depends on the day I think. We always do long and short competitive drills in practice and we partner up every time, and those can go either way, too. “But she can shoot from half court like no other,” Filius added with a laugh. “So she does have that trick shot if she needs it.” And from the sounds of it, Lambourne isn’t afraid to break that shot out every now and then. “I really think it would depend on the day or maybe the ranges that we are shooting from,” Lambourne said. “I would totally get her on a half court shot though. It’s not anything I really practice, I just throw up a couple after practice sometimes. Over the summer, after open gym, I hit like 10, so I know I could get her with that if I needed to.” But as fun as the friendly competition is between Peyton and Brandy, the duo has been anything but fun for Class A defenses over the last four years. There isn’t another guard combo in the state like Filius and Lambourne, and the rest of the Class A field will find that out this weekend in Great Falls. Though their Blue Pony careers will come to an end at some point this weekend at the Four Seasons Arena, hopefully with a coveted state championship, fate and friendship will give Havre the chance to keep watching the duo for years to come. 8 March 2014 STATE GIRLS BASKETBALL CHAMPS 2014 CLASS A www.havredailynews.com Now it's their turn Veteran Havre High girls ready for a run at state Blue Ponies face Frenchtown Thursday at 8 p.m. in Class A opener Daniel Horton Havre Daily News sports writer firstname.lastname@example.org Heading into its third straight Class A state tournament, the Havre High girls basketball team is sitting in pretty good position to make an exciting run at a Class A state championship. Two weeks ago the Blue Ponies followed a regular season title with a divisional title in Belgrade. The Central A title was also the third straight for head coach Dustin Kraske and his Ponies. And if the trend of winning continues, the Ponies are also looking to return to Havre with a state title. Havre last won a state title in 1997, a 62-43 win over Dillon. Thursday through Saturday, the Class A state tournament will take place at the Four Seasons Arena in Great Falls. The Ponies (14-6) take on Frenchtown, the No. 2 team out of the Northwest, Thursday at 8 p.m. “I think all of the games are going to be good,” coach Kraske said. “And I don’t think any team can ever sneak into state, you have to earn it. But I think we are a good team in our own right and I expect our girls to play well. It will be a fun and exciting tournament. All eight kids that we play need to play well. The teams that have a couple players out there that you don’t have to guard, they turned in their gear already. The eight teams here are good, so we have to be ready to go.” A year ago the Ponies went into the state tournament as a No. 1 seed and went 1-2. HHS defeated Stevensville 40-36, but suffered a tough 46-35 loss to Laurel in the semifinals. Laurel went on to win the state title. The Ponies also lost out to Butte Central 51-37. But this year the Ponies parlay the experience they have earned the last three years at state into what could be another strong showing. HHS has five seniors on the roster, and Peyton Filius, Brandy Lambourne and Lacey Waid have competed at the state tournament since their sophomore season. But throw in junior Morgan Mazurkiewicz who played as a freshman, and the Ponies have four girls with a lot of state experience to help lead the way this weekend in Great Falls. “We have the experience we need to play well,” Kraske said. “Peyton, Brandy and Lacey have been on varsity all four years and are going to their third state tournament. But so is Morgan, and we are happy with where our team is at right now. They are all practicing very well, they had a fantastic season and we are looking forward to going down there and watching this team play. We have been there before, so let’s go lace ’em up and go play ball.” Both Filius and Lambourne lead the Ponies in scoring with almost 13 points per game each. Morgan Mazurkiewicz adds another 11 per game, while Waid adds more than four points and four rebounds per game as well. Filius, Lambourne and Morgan Mazurkiewicz are also shooting at least 30 percent from behind the 3-point arc. But the Ponies’ title hopes also depend on how well they can play, not just their experience. With the upperclassmen leadership, the Ponies also have a lot of talented players to go along with Filius, Lambourne, Waid and Morgan Mazurkiewicz. Tori Mazuriewciz is another talented guard who can give the Ponies points and solid defensive stretches. Breck Don also gets leaned on for her defensive efforts, while post players like Haley Ohm can hold down the paint with her size and length. Ohm is averaging over four points per game, and while she doesn’t shoot a lot, she is averaging 51 percent from two-point field goal range. Dani Wagner is another role player that has gained more and more minutes over the season and could prove to be difference-maker as well. And Frenchtown will test the Ponies in the first round. Vanessa Stavish is undoubtedly the leader of the Broncs and her offensive production will come from all over the floor. Stavish is an MSU-Billings prospect and will attempt to take down the Ponies with her inside game and ability to knock down 3-pointers. But Kayla Blood, a point guard, and Haley Cyr, a shooting guard, also add to the Broncs’ 9 March 2014 STATE GIRLS BASKETBALL CHAMPS 2014 CLASS A www.havredailynews.com ■ See Their Turn Page 22 10 March 2014 Pony girls 3-peat Ponies clobber Indians in Central A championship game Daniel Horton Havre Daily News sports writer email@example.com Two wins was all that the Havre High girls basketball team needed to bring a third consecutive Central A divisional title back to Havre. And the Blue Ponies took care of business in a big way as they dominated the Central A field in Belgrade over the weekend. The Ponies first took care of the Belgrade Panthers 56-33 in the semifinals Friday night. That punched the Ponies’ ticket to the championship game where they then defeated the Browning Indians 51-50 Saturday night. The Ponies entered the weekend as the No. 1 seed. Now sitting at 14-6 the Ponies will enter the state tournament in two weeks as a No. 1 seed. “Our kids played very well together, they made the extra pass, communicated well defensively and did all of the things that we have been practicing,” Havre High head coach Dustin Kraske said. “Our kids were really focused, they went down there with the purpose of playing well and they did. The goal at the divisional tournament is to win it, and they did that as well. I was really happy for them; they did a great job this weekend, and it was a total team effort this entire weekend.” Browning put up a fight in the first half, but the Ponies proved to be too much to handle down the stretch as they outscored the Indians 30-15 in the second half. But the Ponies didn’t start out as hot as they finished. Neither team scored in nearly four minutes of action, and Shelby St. Goddard actually gave the Indians the early 3-0 lead on a 3-pointer at the 4:20 mark. But Peyton Filius sparked the HHS offense that would close the opening frame on a 7-2 run. Filius converted a two-point bucket with 3:34 left to play then got help with a Brandy Lambourne 3-pointer and a 2-for-2 free throw appearance from Morgan Mazurkiewicz. Before the Ponies could run away in the second half, they first got a steady second quarter that helped set the pace. The Ponies had to overcome the early pressure and trap by the Indians. Browning was searching for turnovers, but the Ponies committed just three in the entire second quarter. Some in-game adjustments helped the Ponies attacked the Browning defense, getting into the paint for points or earning a trip to the charity strip. Havre was 10-for-11 from the free-throwline in the second quarter. Lacey Waid helped the Ponies steady their game through the first half with six boards. Once the Ponies figured out the Browning defense, the second half seemingly came easy. Filius led the Ponies with her 20 points, but Lambourne also kicked in 13. Morgan Mazurkiewicz finished with seven and Waid added five points. And as good as the Ponies played Saturday night, more specifically the second half, the Ponies had an outstanding weekend opener in a win over the Panthers. “We came out relaxed,” Kraske said. “The first few possessions of offense we came out and scored each time. Our kids read the defense well and gave it to the correct kid to shoot, and that was nice to see them play so relaxed against Belgrade. Against Browning I thought we were tight. We weren’t playing poorly, just maybe a little hyped up.” HHS came out and controlled the semifinal contest right out of the gate. The Ponies held a 29-8 lead after holding the Panthers to just six points in the first quarter and just two in the second quarter. The Ponies added a 27-25 second half to the mix and handled the Panthers easily. Lambourne led the Ponies with her 16 points and Morgan Mazurkiewicz had a another solid game with her 13 points. Filius came up with seven, Waid finished with six, and Haley Ohm added four. Morgan Mazurkiewicz hit two of the Ponies’ three treys, while Waid led the Ponies with five of the teams 28 rebounds. But as good as the offense was, the HHS defense was on full display in both games. Coach Kraske praised the team on their defense all weekend, saying his team had great defense, active hands and active feet. “In both games I think our offense did some good things,” Kraske said. “But quite frankly, our defense was why we won both of our games. Both teams had a tough time scoring against us, and that is a credit to our kids. Our help side was great and we are pretty happy.” Havre will begin play at the Class A state tournament against the runner-up from the Northwest A. The state tourney runs March 13-15 in Great Falls. Havre 51, Browning 30 (1st) Browning 5 10 10 5 - 30 Havre 7 14 19 11 - 51 Browning – Rachel Heptner 1 0-0 2, Courtney Littledog 1 0-0 2, Myndi Gallagher Horn 0 0-0 0, Shelsey St. Goddard 1 0-0 3, Shelby St. Goddard 2 1-1 5, Tiara Gilham 3 3-3 10, Cydnie Sharp 1 1-2 3, Ivannah Spotted Eagle 2 0-2 4, Hailey Jordan 0 0-0 0, Kaylea Skunkcap 0 0-0 0, Shania Hoyt 0 0-0 0, Jayla Wells 0 0-0 0. Totals: 11 6-10 30. Havre – Breck Don 0 0-0 0, Brandy Lambourne 3 5-5 13, Dani Wagner 2 0-0 4, Morgan Mazurkiewicz 2 2-4 7, Naomi Terry 0 0-0 0, Rachel Majeres 0 0-0 0, Lacey Waid 0 5-6 5, Peyton Filius 7 4-4 20, Tori Mazurkiewicz 0 0-3 0, Haley Ohm 0 2-2 2, Lindsey Kudrna 0 0-2 0, Holly Purkett 0 0-0 0. Totals: 14 18-26 51. 3-point goals: Brown 2 (Shelsey St. Goddard 1, Gilham 1), Hav 5 (Lambourne 2, Filius 2, M. Mazurkiewicz 1). Rebounds: Brown 28 (Shelsey St. Goddard 4, Skunkcap 4), Hav 36 (Waid 7). Fouls: Brown 22, Hav 14. Fouled out: none. Technicals: none. Havre 56, Belgrade 33 (sf) Belgrade 6 2 10 15 - 33 Havre 13 16 20 7 - 56 Belgrade – Kindall Bethke 0 0-0 0, Sadie Reddick 2 1-2 5, Alexis Clingingsmith 2 0-0 4, Judy Taylor 0 0-0 0, Madison Cade 0 0-0 0, Taylor Salsbury 0 0-0 0, Skyla Neubauer 1 0 0-0 2, Madison Page 1 0-0 2, Erin Singleton 4 2-4 11, Tanna Holliday 2 0-0 5, Shaylee Ragar 0 2-2 2, Jamie Woolman 1 0-1 2. Totals: 13 5-9 33. Havre – Breck Don 1 0-1 2, Brandy Lambourne 6 3-3 16, Dani Wagner 1 1-1 3, Morgan Mazurkiewicz 5 1-3 13, Naomi Terry 0 0-0 0, Rachel Majeres 0 0-0 0, Lacey Waid 3 0-0 6, Peyton Filius 2 3-5 7, Tori Mazurkiewicz 0 0-0 0, Haley Ohm 2 0-0 4, Lindsey Kudrna 1 0-0 2, Holly Purkett 1 1-2 3. Totals: 22 9-15 56. 3-point goals: Bel 2 (Singleton 1, Holliday 1), Hav 3 (M. Mazurkiewicz 2, Lambourne 1). Rebounds: Bel 24 (Holliday 7), Hav 28 (Waid 5). Fouls: Bel 13, Hav 12. Fouled out: T. Mazurkiewicz. Technicals: none. STATE GIRLS BASKETBALL CHAMPS 2014 CLASS A www.havredailynews.com Belgrade News/Dan Chesnet Havre senior Peyton Filius drives by a Browning defender during Saturday night's Central A championship game in Belgrade. 11 March 2014 HHS girls seek third Central A title starting in Belgrade this week Daniel Horton Havre Daily News sports writer firstname.lastname@example.org The Havre High girls basketball team is no stranger to success at the Central A Divisional tournament. And the Blue Ponies are gunning for more of it this weekend. After a 61-38 win over conference rival Browning to end the regular season, the Central A Blue Ponies are headed back to the divisional tournament in Belgrade as the No. 1 seed for the second consecutive year. But as the reigning champions, the Ponies will also look to defend their title at the divisional tournament that runs today through Saturday at the Belgrade Special Events Center. As the No. 1 seed the Ponies (71) have a first-round bye. The first game for the Ponies will be Friday night at 8 p.m. in the semifinals, facing either No. 4 Belgrade (2-6) or No. 5 Livingston (1-7). No. 2 Browning (5-3) and No. 3 Lewistown (5-3) will also play in the semifinals Friday, all leading up to Saturday’s championship matchup. The extra day of rest will benefit the Ponies, but waiting on an opponent does have its faults as well. “We will have to do some prep work for both teams (Belgrade and Livingston),” Havre High head coach Dustin Kraske said. “It doesn’t put us at a disadvantage, but we do have to prepare for two styles of play prior to even going down there. But we will watch them play Thursday night, have practice Friday morning, and talk about the team we play before we see them Friday night. They aren’t extreme differences, but they do have different styles of play.” The biggest differences between the Belgrade Panthers and Livingston Rangers comes on the defensive side of the ball. That makes the HHS offense responsible for making the necessary adjustments when the Ponies know their first opponent. The Rangers ran a 2-3 zone against the Ponies during the regular season, but it wasn’t very effective as HHS racked up 122 points in the two wins. The Panthers don’t often stray from their man-to-man defense, but they also like to get after teams with an up-tempo press and trap. But the HHS offense had good success against the Panthers’ press, racking up 123 points in two wins against Belgrade as well. Peyton Filius and Brandy Lambourne anchored the HHS offensive efforts during the regular season and should carry the majority of the load again. The Ponies have the ability to run and gun, as well as slow down in the half court. Morgan Mazurkiewicz, Tori Mazurkiewicz, Lacey Waid and Dani Wagner also have the ability to get into the scoring action. Filius and Lambourne both enter the weekend scoring more than 12 points per game while Morgan Mazurkiewicz adds another 11 per outing. The HHS offense is second in the conference in points per game with more than 53, and second in the conference in two-point field goal shoot- Blue Ponies aiming for Great Falls ing at 41 percent. The Ponies are first in the conference in 3-point shooting at 33 percent. The Rangers shoot 33 percent from 3-point range, while Browning scores almost 50 points per game. The Rangers, Eagles and Panthers have struggled to win in conference as all three score less than 43 points per game. The Blue Pony defense can also take on several different variations, giving teams a tough time. HHS can run man looks, as well as zone looks, while also pestering teams with different variations in their full-court press. The up tempo suits the Ponies, leading the league in steals, as well as turning the ball over the secondfewest times in the league. After the dominating win to end the regular season, the Ponies head into the postseason with confidence. They handily took down the second-place Indians and proved they are still the team to beat, even with some regular season bumps in the road. Havre and Browning could be headed for another showdown in Satur- STATE GIRLS BASKETBALL CHAMPS 2014 CLASS A www.havredailynews.com day night’s championship game. “We had a great week of practice last week (before the Browning game),” Kraske said. “We also practiced very well yesterday (Monday) and I anticipate the next few days will be exactly the same. Our kids are focused and just ready to go to the tournament. “Based on the regular season records it will probably be Browning and us pushing for the championship,” Kraske added. “But Lewistown did give us fits when we played on the road, and I think anybody can beat anybody. It is tournament time, everybody starts over and you have to play well, but I do like our chances. You have to play well to advance.” The Ponies will look to make it three Central A titles in a row, and the quest starts with either Livingston or Belgrade Friday at 8 p.m. The Central A championship game is set for 6 p.m. Saturday, and the top two teams from the Central A will advance to the Class A state tournament March 13-15 in Great Falls. 12 March 2014 STATE GIRLS BASKETBALL CHAMPS 2014 CLASS A www.havredailynews.com Ponies trounce Browning in finale With a win at Havre Central, the HHS girls clinch another Central A regular season title Daniel Horton Havre Daily News sports writer email@example.com It’s been a while, but the Havre High girls basketball team was faced with some doubt about whether or not the Blue Ponies would win the Central A regular season title. But in the final game of the regular season, the Blue Ponies put that doubt to rest, and they did it rather quickly. Saturday night at the Havre Central gymnasium, the Ponies hosted the conference rival Browning Indians. The winner would claim the No. 1 seed, the loser, the No. 2 seed in the upcoming Central A tournament. And in the regular season finale for both teams, it was the Ponies knocking off the Indians 61-32. The win gives the Ponies a 7-1 league record and 12-6 record overall, also holding the No. 1 seed heading into the Central A di- not play Saturday, and that did benvisional tournament this weekend in efit the Ponies. Gilham’s 14 points per game could have made the game Belgrade. “The first quarter, we just came closer in the end, but the Ponies were out and played fantastic,” Havre High clearly in control from start to finish. If Gilham can return by this weekhead coach Dustin Kraske said. “We were patient, we made the extra pass end, she and Kaylea Skunkcap could bring Browning back strong title and, on defense, we just looked really contention. Skunkcap led the Indians strong. It was nice, I think our girls did a really nice job. They played how with 17 points Saturday. we practiced. We practiced great this Meanwhile, Havre got a balanced attack. Peyton Filius led last week, and we expectthe offense with 16 points, ed to come out and play but Dani Wagner grabbed well, too. We are healthy 10 and Brandy Lambourne and ready to go.” finished with nine. Mor The result of the first gan Mazurkiewicz finished quarter attack by the Powith eight, while Haley nies was a 21-8 lead over Ohm scored six. It was a the Indians. But Havre great outing as the Ponies played a great game all got back on track offensivthe way through as the ley and defensively, endpoints and strong defense ing the season with two kept coming, stretching straight dominating wins. the lead at almost every “I think we are in the break. Filius best spot we can be in The Indians did outheading into the tournascore the Ponies 15-12 in ment,” Kraske said. “We the third period. While the start to the game was impressive by will play the winner of the four-five seed game (Belgrade/Livingston), so the Ponies, so was the finish. HHS tagged a 19-point fourth quarter on we will put a good week of practice together and get ready.” the Indians to nearly double up the Browning effort. Tiara Gilham, the Havre will get ready to head to Belgrade as the two-time defending Indians’ best offensive weapon, did Central A champions. The Blue Ponies will play either Livingston or Belgrade Friday in the semifinals. The 2014 Central A tournament starts Thursday and runs through Saturday night at the Belgrade Special Events Center. Havre 61, Browning 38 Browning 8 6 15 9 - 38 Havre 21 9 12 19 - 61 Browning – Rachel Heptner 4, Courtney Littledog 3, Hailey Jordon 4, Shelsey St. Goddard 1, Shelby St. Goddard 3, Cydnie Sharp 2, Ivannah Spotted Eagle 4, Kaylea Skunkcap 17. Totals: 13 6-18. Havre – Brandy Lambourne 9, Dani Wagner 10, Morgan Mazurkewicz 8, Naomi Terry 2, Lacey Waid 5, Peyton Filius 16, Tori Mazurkiewicz 3, Haley Ohm 6, Holly Purkett 2. Totals: 21 13-19. Total fouls: Browning 16, Havre 18. Fouled out: Heptner. Three pointers: Spotted Eagle 1, Skunkcap 5, Lambourne 1, M. Mazurkiewicz 2, Filius 3. Havre Daily News Havre High senior Haley Ohm is surrounded by Browning defenders during Saturday night's Central A Conference girls game at the Havre Central Gym. The Blue Ponies beat the Indians, locking up the No. 1 seed for this weekend's Central A Divisional in Belgrade. 13 March 2014 STATE GIRLS BASKETBALL CHAMPS 2014 CLASS A www.havredailynews.com Pony girls face Browning in a big finale Havre High girls host Indians at Havre Central; Pony boys finish in Browning Daniel Horton Havre Daily News sports writer firstname.lastname@example.org In one final night of Central A basketball action, both the Havre High boys and girls basketball team will wrap up the 2014 regular season. When Havre meets up with conference rival Browning Indians Saturday, a regular season title is on the line for the Blue Pony girls (6-1, 11-6), while the Blue Pony boys (43, 6-11) are playing for bragging rights and momentum. Saturday in Browning the HHS boys will face the Indians at 5 p.m. And Saturday in Havre the HHS girls will host the Indians at 5 p.m. at Havre Central. In the first meeting in mid-January, both Pony squads earned wins. The Pony boys took down the Indians 76-50 at home, and the Pony girls took down the Indians 70-63 in Browning. For the boys on the road, it will most likely take their best game of the season to get a season sweep over the Indians. And it is important to just play well heading into the divisional tournament in Belgrade. With a win, the Ponies will finish as the No. 2 seed. With a loss, the Ponies will finish as the No. 3 seed. Either way, the Ponies know they will play the Indians in the first round of the Central A divisional tournament next week. “It would be nice to get the sweep over Browning, and it would be a huge confidence booster,” Havre head coach Curt Leeds said. “Offensively, we are just going to do what we have been doing the last couple of weeks, and, defensively, we might actually work more on our man defense to see what that looks like. We are going to need that at divisionals in those critical times when you do have to get out of your zone.” The offense the Ponies have run, not only in recent weeks but all season, continues to run through Dane Warp and Kade Rismon. The last time the Ponies ran into the Indians, Warp and Rismon combined for 57 points. But other scorers, including Brian Smith, Jase Kato and Nate Rismon, have to continue to find ways to produce. But switching out of their zone, at least for one game, and looking to execute a manto-man defense, the Ponies will need huge games by any athlete to take the floor. The Indians can get out and run, and they can score in bunches. “We haven’t came out in our man defense a lot this season,” Leeds said. “This is a good time to test it. But we are also still trying to find a balance on offense, we still need a couple of kids to step up and score consistently. Nate has been shooting the ball better, so if we can get one or two more guys to bump up their scoring, that would be great. But we are also expecting Browning to play us more with their zone-and-trap game, instead of their man.” The HHS girls are in a different boat. They should almost be considered a shoe-in for a state tournament berth, but they will first go after another regular season title in their final conference game of the season. Havre defeated Browning earlier in the season in what proved to be a tough road game. This time the Ponies get the Indians in Havre and the winner will clinch the No. 1 spot. “We will have to defend better,” Havre High head coach Dustin Kraske said. “But our kids are communicating well, rotating well, and they are playing very well together. We are pleased and looking forward to playing, and our kids love playing at Havre Central, it a great environment and it should be a great crowd. It will be a great basketball environment.” ■ See Face Browning Page 21 Havre Daily News/Daniel Horton Havre High senior Brandy Lambourne races up the court during a Central A girls game against Lewistown last month in Havre. The Blue Ponies wrap up the regular season with a big game against Browning Saturday night at the Havre Central Gym. 14 March 2014 Havre girls hold off tough Morning Stars George Ferguson Havre Daily News sports editor email@example.com ROCKY BOY — The Havre High girls basketball team took a rare two-game losing streak down to Rocky Boy Saturday night. And for much of the game, the Morning Stars were a serious threat to hand Havre another loss. But in the end, the Blue Ponies were too powerful on both ends of the floor. Havre beat the Morning Stars 49-38 Saturday in Rocky Boy, as the Ponies improved to 11-6, while Rocky Boy ended its regular season with a 7-11 overall record. Havre also earned a season sweep of the Morning Stars in what was the first year of the new rivalry. The Morning Stars played a stellar first quarter and only trailed the Ponies 9-7 thanks to a late 3-pointer Jai-Lynn Day Child. Things got even better for Rocky Boy in the second stanza as Chanal Standing Rock, who played for HHS as a sophomore, answered a Brandy Lambourne 3-pointer with one of her own, giving Rocky Boy a 17-16 lead. From there however, Havre imposed its will. The Ponies got STATE GIRLS BASKETBALL CHAMPS 2014 CLASS A www.havredailynews.com five straight points by Peyton Filius, while Morgan Mazurkiewicz buried a trey, capping an 8-0 run which gave the Ponies a 24-17 halftime edge. “We did go on a nice little run there at the end of the first half,” Blue Pony head coach Dustin Kraske said. “I didn’t like how we played at certain points tonight, but I really liked how we played in the third quarter. I thought we played great in the third quarter and that’s where we took control of the game.” Indeed. Lambourne and Filius knocked in back-to-back threes midway through the period, and overall, HHS outscored the Morning Stars 13-6, including a 9-0 run at one point. At the end of the stanza, Havre led 37-23, and while Rocky Boy made a valiant comeback attempt, as Standing Rock went off from the 3-point-line in the final stanza, three straight buckets by Lambourne and Filius were enough to help the Ponies fend off the Morning Stars for good. “I thought at times tonight, we were really aggressive and played really well,” Kraske said. “At other times though, I thought we lacked a sense of urgency. I felt like Rocky Boy also played much better this time. They seemed to play with a lot more confidence in this gym than they did in ours.” Filius hit two treys and scored a team-high 19 points for the Ponies. Lambourne hit three of her own and added 17 points, while Mazurkiewicz chipped in with 11 and three more threes. Standing Rock scored a game-high 23 points and nailed four treys. Rocky Boy will now move on to the District 1B tournament Thursday-Saturday in Cut Bank. Meanwhile, the Ponies will prepare for a huge showdown with Browning this Saturday night at the Havre Central Gym. The Central A finale will likely be a winner-takeall game as the Central A regular season title will be on the line. “What I liked most about this game is the fact the win on the road,” Kraske said. “We can play better, and we’ll need to play better against Browning. But we’re glad to come away with a win tonight too.” Blue Ponies 49, Rocky Boy 38 Havre 9 15 13 12 – 49 Havre Daily News/George Ferguson Havre High's Tori Mazurkiewicz looks to pass during Saturday night's girls high school basketball game in Rocky Boy. The Blue Ponies beat the Morning Stars 49-38. For more photos from the games in Rocky Boy, go to www.havredailynews.com. Rocky Boy 7 10 6 15 – 38 Havre – Brandy Lambourne 17, Dani Wagner 2, Morgan Mazurkiewicz 11, Peyton Filius 19. Totals: 17 8-12 Rocky Boy – Minnie The Boy 2, Jai-lynn Day Child 3, Lauren Four Colors 4, Jude The Boy 3, Chanal Standing Rock 23, Kylee Raining Bird 3. Totals: 14 5-15. Total fouls: Havre 16, RB 15. 3-pointers: Lambourne 3, Mazurkiewicz 3, Filius 2, J. The Boy, Standing Rock 4. 15 March 2014 STATE GIRLS BASKETBALL CHAMPS 2014 CLASS A www.havredailynews.com Havre High set for round two at Rocky Boy Daniel Horton Havre Daily News sports writer firstname.lastname@example.org With just two games left in the regular season, both the Havre High boys and girls basketball teams are heading for the finish line, each playing one nonconference game this weekend, followed by the regular season finales next week against conference-rival Browning Indians. But this should be a stress-free weekend for both the Central A Blue Pony squads. Both teams will play in Rocky Boy Saturday night. The HHS girls (6-1, 10-6) will face the Morning Stars at 5 p.m., followed by the HHS boys (4-3, 6-10) facing the Stars at 6:30 p.m. Under the guidance of head coach Dustin Kraske, the Pony girls will go for the twogame sweep over the Morning Stars this season. Playing in Havre, the Ponies defeated the Morning Stars 69-44, running Rocky Boy out of the gym with easy buckets in transition and an abundance of wide open 3-pointers. Brandy Lambourne finished with 20 points, while the Ponies were led by Peyton Filius with 21. Chanal Standing Rock paced the Morning Stars with 14. “We know they run a 2-3 zone on defense,” Kraske said. “So we will practice for that and be ready for that. But we are going to also have to play better defensively ourselves after our last outing, which I know we will do. We have to stay in the passing lanes and be aggressive, we can’t settle for letting them throw the ball around and take the shots they want, we want them to take the shots we want them to take.” If the Ponies can impose their will on the Morning Stars, Standing Rock won’t be a factor. Standing Rock leads the team in scoring and is a standout shooter from behind the arc. If the Ponies can force her into tough shots, while also forcing the underclassmen on the roster to carry the load, it could mean another lopsided victory for the Ponies. And Havre isn’t looking to do anything out of the ordinary. The defense will press the Morning Stars with several different defensive looks, while the offense houses the ability to come from anybody Kraske puts on the floor. Coming off of a 63-37 loss to Fairfield, followed by a 56-48 loss to Lewistown, the Blue Ponies will look to get both the offense and defense back on track this weekend. The HHS boys are also looking to get back on track against a Stars’ team that defeated the Ponies 66-50 in Havre last month. It was a tough loss just after the Ponies played their best game of the season, defeating Browning 76-50. Havre didn’t handle the Stars’ press defense particularly well. And Rocky Boys’ run and gun style of offense made an appearance as the Ponies simply committed too many turnovers and were forced into too many low quality shots. Dane Warp did finish with 28 points, but the offense was too spread out. Kade Rismon finished with nine, while four other individuals combined for another 13. Rocky Boy had four double-digit scorers, including Cecil Lafromboise with 21 and Desmond Parker with 17. “Rocky Boy pressed us a lot when we played them up here (at home),” Havre High head coach Curt Leeds said. “But we have been much better at breaking the press this year. I don’t think too many teams have had much success against us with their press because our kids are doing better at finding the gaps in the zone. We also have more height this year, so it makes it easier for us to make passes over the press.” It will be key for the Ponies to get consistent scoring against the press. Warp could have another big game, but other scorers like Kade Rismon, Nate Rismon, Brian Smith and Jase Kato also need solid production. Havre also runs a solid press with their different zone looks on defense, and will look to slow the Stars down, slowing down the easy layups in transition. More importantly, the Ponies hope this game gets them even more prepared for the rematch with the Indians next weekend. “Their styles aren’t the same, but they are similar,” Leeds said. “It will be a good game for our boys to experience because it is on the road in a tough atmosphere, and like I said, it will just be very similar to what we will have to deal with and play against when we face Browning.” Both Havre teams will play in Rocky Boy Saturday night. The HHS girls (6-1, 10-6) will face the Morning Stars at 5 p.m., followed by the HHS boys (4-3, 6-10) facing the Stars at 6:30 p.m. Havre Daily News/Daniel Horton Havre's Brandy Lambourne drives by Rocky Boy's Jude The Boy during the first meeting between the two schools last month in Havre. The rematch is set for Saturday in Rocky Boy. 16 March 2014 STATE GIRLS BASKETBALL CHAMPS 2014 CLASS A www.havredailynews.com Blue Pony girls suffer tough losses to Eagles Daniel Horton Havre Daily News sports writer email@example.com After going 7-1 in the last eight games, the Havre High girls basketball team hit a couple of speedbumps. Playing two more games, the Central A Blue Ponies came away with a rare two-loss weekend. The No. 4 team in Class A and No. 1 team in the Central A conference fell victim to the nonconference Class B Fairfield Eagles and to the conference rival Lewistown Golden Eagles. Friday at the Havre High gymnasium. Fairfield defeated the Ponies 63-37, extending the Eagles’ winning streak to 94 games over the last four seasons. Saturday, the Ponies could have clinched another regular season conference title, but were upset 56-48 in Lewistown. Now the Ponies sit at 10-6 overall and 6-1 in conference play this season. The loss to Lewistown was not what the Ponies needed, or expected. Lewistown is always a tough place to play for the Ponies, and the Golden Eagles took full advantage of an HHS team that really had an off night all around. “We didn’t defend and play as well we would have liked,” Havre High head coach Dustin Kraske said. “Lewistown did a nice job, and we had some trouble making some plays down the stretch and they didn’t.” Havre did score 12 points in each of the four quarters, but it wasn’t the production the Ponies are used to. Kraske went on to say that the offense wasn’t sharing the ball as well they have in recent games and they struggled to knock down shots from the free-throw-line. The Ponies also missed open shots and struggled to get to the basket like they are capable of. Brandy Lambourne paced the Ponies with 19 points and got plenty of help. But it was difficult to keep pace with Lewistown as the Eagles scored 15 in the first quarter and 23 in the fourth quarter to close out the game. Morgan Mazurkiewicz finished with 11, while Peyton Filius added eight, Dani Wagner added four, Tori Mazurkiewicz added four and Lacey Waid added two. “Our kids know they can play better, we expect them to play better, and they expect to play better themselves,” Kraske said. Everything will be fine, we need to tighten up our defense quite a bit and we will work on that this week. Offensively, our spacing wasn’t very good and we didn’t shoot the ball particularly well either, so we will go back to work (today).” Before Saturday’s conference loss on the road, Fairfield extended its winning streak to 94 games with a win over the Ponies in Havre. And the Eagles took control of the game from the very beginning. Havre trailed 17-2 after the first quarter and 38-15 at the half. The Ponies started the game with three turnovers and struggled to score points. The first HHS bucket didn’t come until 25 seconds left in the first frame when Lacey Waid stole the ball at midcourt and converted the layup at the other end. Fairfield’s intensity and up-tempo, physical style of play was crucial in their win over Havre and has been their bread and butter for years. “We have had a string of great players come through here, and the intensity in practice has made every day a war for our girls,” Fairfield head coach Dustin Gordon said. “It is an expectation to play with intensity, and there are times where the girls stop practice themselves and say ‘we aren’t getting the job done.’ We always have a feeling of urgency always and that is just how we play.” As tough as the first half was for the Ponies, things did get better in the second half. In the first 16 minutes the Ponies committed 11 turnovers and grabbed just eight rebounds. And after shooting just 1-for-10 in the first frame, the Ponies did manage a better showing in the second by shooting 6-for-13, a grand total of 7-for-23 in the opening half. The second half was better as the Ponies hit four 3-pointers in the final 16 minutes, including two each by Morgan Mazurkiewicz and Filius. The Ponies also bettered their scoring with 22 points in the second half. “I was happy with our kids,” Kraske said. “I thought they played a very, very good second half. The first half we didn’t. We had some open looks that we missed and really had a tough time scoring early. We put ourselves in such a big hole, and that was the ballgame I think. They are just a good team.” Morgan Mazurkiewicz finished with a team-high 14 points, followed by 11 by Filius and six by Lambourne. Jill Barta went off for 32 points for Fairfield after the HHS defense slowed her down out of the gates. Barta scored just six points in the first quarter, but gradually got better with her dominating play inside. She was also a force inside that kept the HHS offense from getting to the basket. Havre looks to get back on track Saturday in Rocky Boy against the Morning Stars. Fairfield 63, Havre 37 Fairfield 17 21 12 13 – 63 Havre 2 13 13 9 – 37 Fairfield – Jill Barta 32, Ta Leigh Isakson 2, Kourtney Coverdell 16, Kaylynn Coverdell 11, Allie Steinbach 2. Totals: 24 15-19. Havre – Brandy Lambourne 6, Dani Wagner 2, Morgan Mazurkiewicz 14, Lacey Waid 4, Peyton Filius 11. Totals: 13 4-6. Total fouls: Fairfield 13, Havre 15. Fouled out: None. Three pointers: Lambourne 2, M. Mazurkiewicz 2, Filius 3. Lewistown 56, Havre 48 Havre 12 12 12 12 – 48 Lewistown 15 9 9 23 – 56 Havre – Brandy Lambourne 19, Dani Wagner 4, Morgan Mazurkiewicz 11, Lacey Waid 2, Peyton Filius 8, T. Mazurkiewicz 4. Totals: 12 12-20. Lewistown – Mikaela Olson 10, Nicole Karhi 4, Jessica Kinderski 4, Maddie Comes 10, Tara Olson 2, Lexie Anderson 3, Michelle Monger 11, Kyra Fleharty 6, Janee Mane 6. Totals: 15 20-32. Total fouls: Havre 18, Lewistown 13. Fouled out: T. Mazurkiewicz. 3-pointers: Morgan Mazurkiewicz 1, Filius 2, Anderson 1. 17 March 2014 Ponies host legendary Eagles tonight HHS girls look to end Fairfield's magical streak tonight at the HHS gymnasium, then clinch Central A at Lewistown Daniel Horton Havre Daily News sports writer firstname.lastname@example.org As far as regular season basketball goes, this weekend is as big as it’s going to get for the Havre High girls basketball team. The Central A Blue Ponies will play two big games, but they’re not just any games. First up is tonight’s much-anticipated showdown with the Fairfield Eagles, followed by Saturday’s road trip to Lewistown. In Lewistown, HHS can clinch the Central A regular season title with a win. Tonight, the Ponies will host Fairfield at 7 at the Havre High gymnasium. Tonight is also senior night for the Ponies. Saturday HHS will return to conference play in Lewistown. A win over Lewistown will mean another league title, as well as a season sweep. The No. 4 Ponies are 10-4 overall and 6-0 in the Central A this season and have been playing very well. Fairfield is not a conference opponent and is undefeated, a streak that stretches back four seasons. Typically the Ponies don’t spend a lot of time preparing for teams outside the conference, but the Eagles may be a special case. This is the first-ever meeting between HHS and the Eagles, who have one of the greatest dynasties in Montana girls basketball going right now. The Eagles, coached by former Chester/J-I mentor Dustin Gordon, have won a Montana-record 93 straight games, not to mention the last three Class B state titles. No. 1-ranked Fairfield has dominated the competition this year and the Eagles have talented group of players. One standout the Ponies will face is Jill Barta, a senior already committed to play for Gonzaga next season. The 6-4 Barta is averaging 24.2 points, 12.5 rebounds, 6.8 assists and 2.3 blocks per game and is joined by fellow seniors Kaylee Baeth, Kourtney Coverdell and Kaylynn Coverdell, also standout players. Fairfield handed Browning an 8038 loss earlier this season, so the Ponies know they are a talented program to say the least. “Fairfield has a good team with really, really good players,” Havre High head coach Dustin Kraske said. “They have had a fantastic season, and we are fortunate to have them at our place. They are playing very well, but so are we. And Lewistown is our focus this week. It’s a conference game on the road, and we have to play well, but Fairfield is going to be a great game for us. It will give us a chance, just like against Great Falls High, CMR, Conrad and Malta, to get that really good nonconference game where we have to play at a very high level to be successful. Our kids are up to the challenge for sure.” Offensively and defensively, the Ponies will have to play at an extremely high level to be the first team to knock off the Eagles in just under four seasons now. Defense has been the backbone of the Ponies’ success, but it may be difficult to stop a team that has four or five girls who can score double digits on any given night. Rebounds will be key, as will being active in the passing lanes and challenging every shot. Havre’s up-tempo pressure and half-court man defense will be tested. Haley Ohm will also be tested if Barta plays inside, as she can also play on the perimeter. But the offense will also have to be ready to go, as teams have found it difficult to keep pace with Fairfield’s scoring ability. Brandy Lambourne and Peyton Filius lead Havre's offense, both with more than 12 points per game, and Morgan Mazurkiewicz, Lacey Waid and Tori Mazurkiewicz will also need impressive outings as the ability to hit outside shots could be a major benefactor in a win or loss. “I don’t think there is just one thing we have to do well,” Kraske said. “Our team has to play well overall. We have to defend like we defend normally, and our offense has to continue to play relaxed.” Playing Fairfield, having the chance to end one of the most amazing winning streaks in Montana prep history, is exciting, especially since Havre will try and beat the Eagles on senior night. But Kraske isn’t kidding when he says his team is focused on beating Lewistown. A win Saturday night would mean HHS’s third straight Central A regular season title, and the No. 1 seed at the Central A tournament. HHS defeated Lewistown 68-35 in early January, but the Golden Eagles typically play better on their home court. Mikaela Olson has been out of the lineup, but should be back, along with her 10 points per game. Jaree Mane and Jessica Kindzerski also add to the individual talent that the Golden Eagles will throw at the Ponies on offense and defense. “I am not concerned about us not being focused to play because STATE GIRLS BASKETBALL CHAMPS 2014 CLASS A www.havredailynews.com Havre Daily News/Daniel Horton Havre High senior Haley Ohm, left, and the Blue Pony girls will host Class B power Fairfield tonight at the HHS gymnasium. The Eagles bring a record 93-game winning streak into tonight's game, which is also senior night for HHS. I know we will be ready to go,” Kraske said. “But we are going to have to play better there than we played here, but that is how we always feel when we play on the road. The score up here isn’t going to do anything to help us down there. We start back at zero and still have to play.” If Havre can continue to do the things well that have brought them success this season, then the Ponies should come away with another league win. The game plan doesn’t change any this late in the season and the Ponies haven’t dominated the conference the last three years just by chance. Both games are important to HHS for different reasons, and the Ponies are ready and looking forward to the competition. “It is a good weekend to be a Blue Pony,” Kraske said. “We have two wonderful games as we wind down the last month of our season.” Tonight, the Ponies will host Fairfield at 7 at the Havre High gymnasium. Saturday, HHS will return to conference play in Lewistown. 18 March 2014 STATE GIRLS BASKETBALL CHAMPS 2014 CLASS A www.havredailynews.com Senior Night: Pony girls build a legacy Daniel Horton Havre Daily News sports writer email@example.com Seniors all over the state are preparing for the end of their prep basketball careers, but one thing the Havre High senior girls don’t have to worry about, is having to move on without knowing what success feels like. Four years ago, as freshmen, Lacey Waid, Haley Ohm, Breck Don, Peyton Filius and Brandy Lambourne missed the state tournament as part of the Blue Pony varsity team. But as four year-varsity players, that talented five took the Ponies to the Class A state tournament the last two seasons, and more than likely will do so again this season. Winning hasn’t necessarily come easy for this senior class, but the wins have come in bunches, especially in the conference. As sophomores they went 7-1 in league play and won the division. As juniors they repeated their 7-1 league record, as well as repeating as divisional champions. They also made the state tournament both last year and the year before, including a trip to the semifinals a year ago. Nobody can argue the success these seniors have found, but they have done so in a unique way. The history between Filius, Lambourne and Waid dates back to before middle school. They have played together since a very young age, including the last four years as varsity letter winners. Filius is currently averaging 12.2 points per game and is shooting nearly 50 percent from 2-point range and 25 percent from 3-point range. Filius has also hit a teamhigh 17 treys this season and has racked up 22 assists. Lambourne is averaging nearly 13 points per game and is shooting 56 percent from 2-point range and 36 percent from 3-point range. Lambourne also has a team-high 26 steals and 30 assists. Waid isn’t known for her offensive production as much as she is known for her aggressive play on defense. She adds a much needed spark to the aggressive HHS defense and can shut down almost anybody across from her. Still, Waid is shooting over 40 percent from 2-point range and is averaging more than five points per game and she as an excellent dribble-drive player and a threat to post up. These three play well together and it has showed. But Ohm and Don have also been major players for head coach Dustin Kraske the last two seasons, stepping into a varsity role as juniors and giving the Ponies a well-rounded senior group. “It was just as easy to play with them, too,” Waid said. “It wasn’t hard adding two more girls into the mix. We just really know each other so well, and we always know what the other is going to do when we are on the floor. We have all matured and grown up a lot. Each season has gotten more and more intense and serious for us. We have had four years of varsity to get better, but we all just know this is our year to win state. We were so close last year, and it is right there for us to grab. It would be awesome if we could win it all.” Ohm is a starting post player for the Ponies while Don is a talented guard coming off the bench for Kraske. Havre Daily News/Daniel Horton The Havre High seniors on the Blue Pony girls basketball team will be honored before Friday night's game against Fairfield. The highly successful senior class is composed of Breck Don, from left, Lacey Waid, Haley Ohm, Brandy Lambourne and Peyton Filius. Don is a solid role player and is typically called upon to use her athleticism to impact the game as one of the first subs off the bench. Don hasn’t shot a whole lot this season, but typically impacts the game as part of the stiff Pony defense. Ohm has turned into a solid post player for the Ponies and is disappointed her senior season is winding down. “I am kind of disappointed that it is ending,” Ohm said. “I feel like I just started coming around and got to a point where I am a good player. And now it is ending, but I am still excited about hopefully getting to state again, and I really think I can help out more at state this year. I started playing a lot later than the other girls so I am just now getting closer to their level on varsity.” Currenty Ohm has four blocks on the season and averages four rebounds a game. Ohm also averages more than five points a game and is shooting 53 percent from the field. The seniors will be honored Friday night before the Ponies take on the legendary Fairfield Eagles, even though the Ponies will play at Havre Central later this regular season. The final game at the Havre High Gymnasium will be a better sendoff for the five talented and experienced Blue Ponies. And it’s a send-off this senior class truly ■ See Seniors Page 20 19 March 2014 Blue Pony girls bounce back to beat CMR Daniel Horton Havre Daily News sports writer firstname.lastname@example.org For the last couple of weeks, the Havre High girls basketball team has blown out most of its competition. But the Blue Ponies know how to win close games, too. This season, the Ponies have been involved in three games settled by 10 points or less. After Saturday night’s contest at the CMR Fieldhouse in Great Falls, that number has increased to four. The Class A’s No. 5-ranked Ponies defeated the Class AA CMR Rustlers 57-56 Saturday, improving to 10-4 on the season. But it nearly took everything the Ponies could throw at the Rustlers to get the win. In the nonleague matchup there were 14 lead changes. The game was also all tied up on 12 separate occasions, while neither team ever held a lead larger than six points. It was a tight, neck-andneck battle from start to finish, but all that matters is the final score, a one-point victory for the Ponies. “CMR has a nice team,” Havre High head coach Dustin Kraske said. “We went on a nice little run there, but I also think we handled it well when CMR fought back. We were able to make some plays down the stretch, and our kids really did a nice job.” With the lead changes and constant ties, no lead was ever a safe lead. The Ponies saw their 30-27 halftime margin quickly turn into a 4242 tie heading into the fourth and final quarter. The Ponies were able to outscore the Rustlers 15-14 in the final eight minutes, just enough to earn a season sweep against CMR. Havre’s defense has been tough the last two outings, allowing just 33 and 16 points by the opposition. But CMR was able to rally for a nice scoring total with a lot of movement and key rebounds. “They rebounded really well, and they ran quite a bit of pick and rolls,” Kraske said. “I thought we defended that well. But our second rotator was a little slow and we had a tough time on the backside board or on the extra pass. We did struggle with that, and that gave CMR a bunch of baskets.” Ashlee Atchison led the Rustlers with 16 points, while Taylor Edwards followed with 11. Kaydee Parsons finished with nine. Not to be outdone, Peyton Filius paced the Ponies with a game-high 21 points, 15 coming in the first half. Morgan Mazurkiewicz added 16 and Brandy Lambourne finished with nine. “We found the shooters, we found the kids that were ready to catch and shoot,” Kraske said. “They did a nice job with their zone defense, but we would get two kids to guard us and kick for an open shot, or we screened for shots, and we moved the ball side to side and into the high post. But they all hit timely shots, and our three guards really played well. Not to take anything away from our other kids, because they all played well. It took all eight of our girls that played to get that win.” Friday, the Ponies will host one of the greatest teams in Montana basketball history in Class B Fairfield at 7 p.m. Friday is also senior night. But Saturday the Ponies will face the conference rival Lewistown on the road. Havre 57, CMR 56 Havre 16 14 12 15 - 57 CMR 14 13 15 14 - 56 Havre – Breck Don 1-3 0-0 3, Brandy Lambourne 4-9 0-1 9, Morgan Mazurkiewicz 5-10 3-6 16, Peyton Filius 7-19 2-2 21, Tori Mazurkiewicz 1-5 4-4 6, Haley Ohm 1-2 0-0 2. Totals: 19-56 9-13. CMR – Kaydee Parsons 3-7 0-0 9, Ashlee Atchison 5-12 6-9 16, Taylor Edwards 5-9 1-2 11, Sammy Pietrykows- STATE GIRLS BASKETBALL CHAMPS 2014 CLASS A www.havredailynews.com Great Falls Tribune Havre High senior Brandy Lambourne goes in for a layup during Saturday afternoon's girls basketball game between the Blue Ponies and CMR Rustlers in Great Falls. Havre won 57-56, earning a season sweep of the Rustlers. ki 1-1 0-0 2, Maggie Reilly 0-5 3-4 3, Maddy Gregoire 0-3 1-2 1, Darby Gollaher 3-5 0-0 6, Maddy Watkins 3-5 2-2 8. Totals: 20-49 13-21. Total fouls – Havre 17, CMR 15. Fouled out – none. 3-pointers – Don 1, Lambourne 1, Morgan Mazurkiewicz 3, Filius 5, Parsons 3. 20 March 2014 STATE GIRLS BASKETBALL CHAMPS 2014 CLASS A www.havredailynews.com HHS's Lambourne will stay home for hoops Brandy Lambourne signs with MSUNorthern women's basketball team Daniel Horton Havre Daily News sports writer email@example.com The good news continues to pour out of the Montana State University-Northern women’s basketball program. And this time, the good news includes another local standout. Thursday, Skylights head coach Chris Mouat announced the signing of Havre High’s Brandy Lambourne. Lambourne is gearing up for her senior season with the Central A Blue Ponies and has already proven to be a talented player under the guidance of HHS head coach Dustin Kraske. In her junior season with the Blue Ponies, Lambourne was the only player in the Central A with more assists (46) than turnovers (43). Lambourne is a natural at the point guard position, where she’s led the Ponies in assists for two straight years. She also averaged 9.6 points per game last season, while leading the Ponies in field goal percentage, shooting better than a 50 percent clip. She shot 29 percent from 3-point range and 64 percent from the foul line. Lambourne has also been a key part of Havre High teams which have won back-toback Central A championships the last two seasons. She and several of her Havre High teammates also took a basketball trip to Australia in the summer of 2012. And Lambourne isn’t the only high school senior with the weight of a college signing off her shoulders, as the guard play of Lambourne will hopefully highlight the post play of players like Chinook senior Makhayla Farmer for the next several years at Northern. Farmer verbally committed to play for the Skylights as a sophomore. Now, Lambourne is the second player in what could be a huge 2013-14 recruiting class for Northern, and she is amped to continue her career in Havre. “I really just wanted to get a lot of this weight off of my back and focus on my last season of high school,” Lambourne said. “I go to all of their (Skylights) games and all of their camps. I also talk to their players and coaches, and just really like the program. I really like the atmosphere, and I already know a lot of the players.” But Lambourne wasn’t the only one excited about the signing. Mouat was just as excited to add local talent to an already impressive recruiting class. “We were really excited to sign Brandy,” Havre Daily News/Daniel Horton Havre High senior Brandy Lambourne makes a move during the 2014 Class A state championship game between the Blue Ponies and Hamilton Broncs Saturday night at the Four Seasons Arena in Great Falls. The Blue Ponies beat the Broncs 52-43 and captured Havre's first girls basketball state title in 17 years. Mouat said. “I think the job that coach Kraske is doing at Havre High is outstanding, and I think that Brandy is a big part of something special down there. They should be set for a great year, and getting to watch them this summer, I was able to see Brandy improve a lot. Their whole team stands out, but Brandy has really improved on both ends of the floor. She is leading by example, playing extremely hard and really stood out. She is familiar with our program, she wants to be a part of our program, and wants to play in front of friends and family, and that is really exciting.” And now, knowing where she is going to attend school and play ball for the next four years, Lambourne truly can focus on her final season as a Blue Pony. Havre High has made it a habit of making the Class A state tournament, but for a senior, that isn’t enough. Lambourne knows she is part of a great program and is part of a team that has the potential to make a run at a state title this upcoming season. “We are going to win as many games as we can,” Lambourne said, “and hopefully take state this year. We have been at state the last couple of years, so hopefully we can just seal the deal. I think we need to just treat the postseason like a regular game, not focus on the fact that it is the state tournament. We just need to play the way that we play normally.” “We have been able to watch her since she was a freshman and her game has improved a lot,” Mouat said. “But I see her entering her senior year with a team that has a chance to do some really special things at the state tournament level. I do think this signing will take some pressure off of her, and I see her having a great final season.” Lambourne will finish up a great career at Havre High where she is also an excellent student. During her athletic career, Lambourne is already a two-time Central A All-Conference basketball player. She has lettered three years in volleyball and three years in tennis including earning back-to-back trips to the Class A state tournament. Lambourne finished tied for seventh at the state tennis tournament this past spring in Polson. Lambourne plans to major in biology at Northern and has an interest in pursuing medical school in the future. She is the daughter of Tim and Maria, has two older sisters, Lissette, who lives in South Carolina, and Monica, who also attends MSU-N, and a younger sister, Kate, who is a sophomore at HHS. Seniors ■ Continued from page 18 deserves. This is as successful a senior class as Havre High has had in some time, and together, they’re not done yet. “I don’t think it will really hit me until state maybe,” Waid said. “I am not thinking about our season ending or senior night because we still have some big games and divisionals and state left. I might cry like a baby after state or divisionals, but right now, it’s not an issue.” 21 March 2014 She's MSU-Northern bound, too Daniel Horton Havre Daily News sports writer firstname.lastname@example.org As of this afternoon, the Montana State University-Northern women’s basketball program will get another injection of Havre Blue Pony blue. Skylights head coach Chris Mouat has announced the signing of Havre High senior Peyton Filius to an NAIA national letter of intent. Filius is currently a standout guard on the Blue Ponies where she has been a fouryear varsity starter under head coach Dustin Kraske. And being a Havre native with deep ties to the Skylight program, and Northern as a whole, it seems like this signing was a perfect fit for all involved. “We are very excited about this signing,” coach Mouat said. “Peyton is somebody I have known since my first day on the job here. But, of course, I knew who her mom was because she made such an impact on the program here, and I knew who her dad was for the same reason. But that little girl has grown up to be quite the basketball player and leader and has done a fantastic job at Havre High. We are really excited.” Filius is also glad the decision of where to play college basketball is now behind her, as her final landing spot has garnered a lot of attention from fans, fellow players, and numerous colleges and coaches around the state. “It feels good to finally be able to give people an answer, and it really feels like the right decision,” she said. “At first I thought I wanted to get out of town because I thought that is what everybody does, but the more I thought about it the more I realized that I didn’t want to leave. Havre has great fans and always has big crowds, so I am excited to be staying around home and those hometown fans.” And Peyton will hopefully be the next Filius in line to find success at the Frontier Conference and NAIA level while at MSU-N. Scott Filius, Peyton’s father was a 2002 inductee to the Lights Hall of Fame for his efforts as a Northern wrestler. He was a fourtime All-American, wrestling two years at North Idaho Junior College before wrestling his junior and senior seasons at Northern. In 1991, Scott achieved an individual NAIA national title (167 pounds) as Northern won its first-ever team title as well. Scott was also an academic standout while at MSU-N and has built a prep dynasty as the wrestling coach at Havre High. Kari (Fike) Filius, Peyton’s mom, and Kim (Fike) Finn, Peyton’s aunt were also inducted into the Northern Hall of Fame in 2005 for their work and contributions on the hardwood. Kari and Kim helped bring an NAIA national championship to Northern in 1993. And as good as the duo was on the court, they were just as impressive in the classrroom. Both sisters earned Academic All-Conference awards for three years and Academic All-American honors in two. The two also played on four Frontier Conference Championship and four District Championship teams. Kari also scored 1,181 points at MSU-N. “I think it is fun Peyton has a chance to add to that history,” Mouat said. “But we knew that we didn’t want to put too much pressure on Peyton for what her parents did here. This had to be her decision. But her parents were phenomenal athletes here, both Hall of Famers, and that can add some pressure to a kids’ life. That was the last thing we wanted to do, so we were respectful of that in the recruiting process even though she was somebody we knew we wanted in this program since she was eight years old shooting around in the gym. She is a good person, good player and a good student, and we’re really excited for her to be a part of our program.” Her collegiate basketball career won’t start until next fall, but Peyton Filius’ prep resume is already extremely impressive. As a four-year varsity starter on the Blue Pony basketball team, Peyton was named AllConference as a sophomore and junior and Class A All-State last season as well as leading the Ponies in scoring. She also played volleyball for her first three years at Havre High, earning All-Conference honors as a junior. She ran cross country as a senior to stay in shape year round but will also run track for all four years by the time she graduates. Last year, she placed in the top six at the Class A state in the 800-meters and has earned Central A All-Conference honors in events on the track the past three springs. But the accolades don’t stop there as Filius was named Academic All-State for three seasons of volleyball, three seasons of basketball, three seasons of track, and her lone season of cross country, a season that resulted in the Blue Pony team grabbing a Central A championship and a fourth-place finish at state. Filius was also an All-Conference runner for the Ponies this past fall. MSU-Billings was also a frontrunner to sign Peyton with all that she has accomplished, but like she said, Northern seemed like the best fit. And it was a close call on who was more excited, Peyton, or her parents. “I was probably more excited, but not by much,” Peyton said. “My parents were both pretty psyched by my decision, too. And I didn’t really think about their success there, that didn’t play a factor in my decision. My parents had their time at Northern, and they did their own thing. But I have never felt like I had to live up to their expectations, just do my own thing when I got the chance.” Currently, Peyton is a major component on the No. 5-ranked Pony squad where she is averaging more than 13 points per game and a team-high four rebounds per game. An outstanding outside shooter, who can also drive to the basket, handle the ball, make excellent passes and defend, she is also first on the team in made 3-pointers, third on the team in assists, and second on the team in steals. And those outstanding numbers have a chance of going up even more this season. The Ponies have four more regular season games and are a clear favorite to win their third straight conference title and divisional tournament title. Last year the Ponies grabbed 14 wins and made the state semifinals. Currently the Ponies have 10 wins and Filius has high hopes of finishing off her prep career strong. An NAIA national title could be in the distant future, but right now a Class A state title sounds just as good. “I haven’t thought that far ahead yet to have college goals,” Filius said. “I just want to be able to get better each year and help the team anyway I can. And I don’t even know what I would do if I were able to accomplish STATE GIRLS BASKETBALL CHAMPS 2014 CLASS A www.havredailynews.com Havre Daily News/Daniel Horton Havre High senior standout Peyton Filius, who earned Class A All-State honors a year ago, will sign an NAIA national letter of intent to play college basketball for the Montana State University-Northern Skylights and head coach Chris Mouat. something as big and meaningful as a national title. Just to be a part of something like that would be amazing. But I still have this year to get through, and making this decision to play at Northern will hopefully help me and the team (HHS). I don’t have to worry about college, I can put all my focus into this season and getting better each and every weekend. Hopefully that will help lead to us having a great run at the state tournament as a team.” Filius joins Blue Pony teammate Brandy Lambourne as part of a 2014 Skylight recruiting class which also includes Chinook’s Makhayla Farmer and Townsend’s Jacy Thompson. Filius, who hasn't decided on a major just yet, has a younger brother, Parker and younger sister, Sadie. Face Browning ■ Continued from page 13 In the first meeting, the Ponies’ defense struggled to stop the Browning attack. Tiara Gilham finished with a game-high 24 points. The Ponies also had to rely on some late-game heroics to reclaim the lead in the final four minutes of play. But if the defense can step up and make a statement early, the Ponies should like their chances even more to win the regular season. It shouldn’t matter if the Ponies are in their press or half court zone, if they show a man look, or come out and trap the Indians, it is going to take a very high level of effort to stop the Indians’ offensive attack. But the Ponies are also making sure to attack the Indians on offense. Havre has a group of talented guards, and Kraske thinks his team is at its best when they attack the hoop and score inside. Brandy Lambourne, Peyton Filius, Morgan Mazurkiewicz, Lacey Waid and Tori Mazurkiewicz can step out and hit deep jumpers, but the up-tempo style of the Ponies rolls through the completion when the points pour in in transition. “They (Browning) haven’t been pressing teams a whole lot, they press a little bit, but they will play a lot of 2-3 zone,” Kraske said. “We are going to have to not settle for jump shots. We have to attack the basket, be aggressive, attack the baseline, and play with confidence.” Both HHS teams will face Browning Saturday night. The Havre girls host the Indians at Havre Central at 5 p.m. 22 March 2014 STATE GIRLS BASKETBALL CHAMPS 2014 CLASS A www.havredailynews.com Bison pull away from HHS girls Daniel Horton Havre Daily News sports writer email@example.com The Great Falls High Bison are big, strong and physical, and with just one loss against them this season they are obviously also difficult to defeat. The No. 5-ranked Havre High girls ran into that stout Bison squad Thursday night at the Havre High gymnasium. The Bison completed the season sweep over the Central A Blue Ponies with a 59-47 win in nonconference action. The loss dropped the Ponies’ overall record to a still impressive 9-4. “They (Bison) are going to make us better in the long run,” Havre High head coach Dustin Kraske said. “I really believe that. Great Falls High is a good team, and to our kids’ credit, they battled back, fought and made runs. We just weren’t quite prepared enough to finish things off and get completely back into the game. Credit Great Falls High for that.” Momentum changed in the second half and the Ponies looked poised for a roaring comeback. After trailing 25-16 at the break, the Ponies opened up the second half by turning up the heat on the defensive end of the floor. After sticking to an aggressive half-court man through the first two frames, the Ponies started the second half with a full-court press. And for a short time the added pressure worked in the Ponies’ favor. A 3-pointer to start the third quarter by the Bison’s Taylor Kumm really quick-started the HHS pressure, and the result was an 11-2 run by the HHS offense. Just before the four minute mark in the third quarter Morgan Mazurkiewicz hit a trey of her own to reduce the GFH lead to 30-27. Havre also forced the Bison into five turnovers in the opening four minutes of the second half, three of those turnovers resulting in Blue Pony buckets. But just as the Ponies made adjustments, so did the Bison. The HHS comeback was short lived as the Bison figured out the Havre pressure and settled back into a groove which meant points from all over the floor. “Our kids did a nice job of being active in the passing lanes and that gave us some momentum,” Kraske said. “The pressure led to easy baskets, which is perfect, but we just didn’t have enough of that.” Great Falls closed out the third quarter with 8-0 run, also out-rebounding the Ponies 9-3 in the frame. The Bison also turned to their full-court press in the third to change the momentum. GFH pressed the Ponies the final two minutes, and it really bothered the Pony offense, which had streaky scoring all night. Tori Mazurkiewicz led the Ponies with her 22 points. She also hit the only two 3-pointers the Ponies made in the first half on a total of seven attempts. The Ponies finished the game 4-of-14 from behind the arc, but made a decisive decision to try and score inside against the oversized Bison in the second half. “We made the decision going into the second half to try and get more things done at the basket,” Kraske said. “That opened some things up and our kids continued to try and get to the hoop, but we missed some easy shots tonight. But, really, I didn’t think we had much offensive rhythm and we need more of that. “But our rebounding is our Achilles heel,” Kraske added. “We have been practicing it very, very hard all the time, and in practice it looks better than it does in games. We need to commit to rebounding or we are in trouble. We are too fundamentally sound defensively to give up offensive rebounds. Our kids are busing their tails, they are working as hard as they can, so now just do the technique of rebounding, block out and go get the ball.” Tori Mazurkiewicz, Peyton Filius and Brandy Lambourne all finished with seven points each for the Ponies. But the Ponies also came up with just four offensive rebounds, led by Lacey Waid with three. And defensively, the Ponies were slightly better with eight boards. The Bison grabbed 27 rebounds on the night. Havre will get back to action Saturday when the Ponies travel to Great Falls to take on the Class AA CMR Rustlers at the CMR Fieldhouse. Great Falls High 59, Havre 47 Great Falls 9 16 13 21 – 59 Havre 8 8 11 20 – 47 Great Falls High – Liz Klinker 5 6-8 16, Gabby Fought 1 0-0 3, Nora Klick 4 3-4 11, Mercedes Bourgeau 4 4-4 12, Mikaela Kynett 0 4-6 4, Markaela Francis 1 3-4 5, Darbi Fought 1 0-0 3, Taylor Kumm 1 2-2 5. Totals: 17 22-28. Havre High – Brandy Lambourne 2 3-4 7, Morgan Mazurkiewicz 8 3-4 22, Lacey Waid 2 0-0 4, Peyton Filius 3 -1 7, Tori Mazurkiewicz 3 1-2 7, Haley Ohm 0 0-2 0. Totals: 18 7-13. Total fouls: GFH 14, HHS 17. Fouled out: Waid. 3-pointers: M. Mazurkiewicz 3, Filius, G. Fought, D. Fought, Kumm. Havre Daily NewsHavre High's Lacey Waid dribbles toward a Great Falls High defender during Thursday night's girls basketball game at the HHS gymnasium. For more photos, go to www.havredailynews.com. Their Turn ■ Continued from page 9 depth. “They are very well-balanced and a nice team,” Kraske said, “but we aren’t changing much to get ready for them. We are going to play like we play and do what we do because we have been happy with the results to date. We may adjust to some small subtle things, but not much.” Havre High can also score from all over the floor, but the defense will need to have a decent outing. The Ponies can press teams and wear them down, forcing bad passes and ample turnovers. But the Ponies can also settle into a tough half-court man-to-man defense and continue to fluster the opposition’s offensive plans with active hands and clogging up the passing lanes. “Our kids have bought into what we do defensively, and I would expect us to defend well this weekend,” Kraske said. “And it is important for us to control the tempo, but we also need to push the ball even faster when we have the chance. It is a bigger floor, so we can throw the ball ahead and trust our teammate to go get it and lay it in. We have good team quickness, and we need to use that.” At the state level any potential opponent is a talented one, and the Ponies are well aware of that. They are full-steam-ahead in preparation for Frenchtown, but when the Ponies know their next opponent, they will be prepared. Teams Like Laurel, the reigning state champions could be waiting for the Ponies in the semifinals Friday. Laurel typically runs a 2-3 zone on defense, and typically runs an offense that highlights athletes like Allie McGrath and Abbie Lohof any way it can. Win or lose, the Ponies could also run into Anaconda Friday. Anaconda also has some of the state’s top talent in players like Courtney Moodry who is averaging 15 points per game this season. But the Class A field is deep all the way around. Miles City brings star players like Shaylee Singleton, while Hamilton has Taylor Goligoski who is averaging 20 points per game along with nine rebounds a game. Belgrade may have had a tough regular season, but they got hot come tournament time. Alexis Clingingsmith and Erin Singleton are among their top talent, while Columbia Falls is also going to push for a state title as the No. 1-ranked team in the state. With athletes like Haley Belgrade, Winter Kemppainen and freshman Cydney Finberg, the Wildcats will be tough to knock off over the next three days of action. The 2014 Class A state tournament begins with Columbia Falls and Belgrade at 12:30 p.m. Thursday. Hamilton and Miles City will follow, while Laurel and Anaconda kick off the night session at 6:30 p.m. Havre will play Frenchtown at 8. If the Ponies win, they’ll play in the semifinals Friday at 8 p.m. A loss would send the Ponies into a loser-out game at 2 p.m. Friday. 23 March 2014 It's a Great Falls weekend for Havre High Pony girls host Bison tonight tack, but instead are looking to stay hot and get ready for the divisional tournament in late February in Belgrade. Offensively the Ponies are rolling through the opposing defensive looks. In the last five wins the Ponies have averaged more than 66 points per game, including a 70-point showing against Browning. Not only are Peyton Filius and Brandy Lambourne playing well as the Ponies’ one-two punch, but Lacey Waid, Morgan Mazurkiewicz, Haley Ohm, Tori Mazurkiewicz and Dani Wagner are also staying very involved in the action. But the HHS defense has also turned into a greedy presence on the hardwood. In the last two outings the Blue Ponies allowed a total of 49 points, 16 from Livingston and 33 from Belgrade. “We need to play with poise and continue to play with a sense of urgency on both ends of the floor,” Kraske said. “That has really helped us the last couple of weeks. Defensively we are on it, we are talking a lot, we are jumping the ball, being active and working well together. STATE GIRLS BASKETBALL CHAMPS 2014 CLASS A www.havredailynews.com Fifth-ranked Blue Ponies take on second-ranked AA Bison, travel to CMR Saturday Daniel Horton Havre Daily News sports writer firstname.lastname@example.org After reeling off an impressive six-game winning streak, four of which were conference wins, the Havre High girls basketball team is ready for another nonconference stretch to sharpen its skills. The Central A Blue Ponies have been playing better and better with each passing game. They are comfortably at the top of the league standings with a flawless 6-0 record and have also pushed their overall record to an impressive 9-3 so far this season. Havre is now the fifthranked team in Class A. But the Ponies will put their conference foes on the back burner for the next three matchups, including two this weekend. Tonight, the Po- nies will host the Class AA Great Falls High Bison at the Havre High Gymnasium at 7. Saturday, the Ponies will return to the road to face the Class AA CMR Rustlers at 4 p.m. at the CMR Fieldhouse in Great Falls. The Bison have cruised through the schedule this season, sitting at 10-1 overall. The Rustlers have had their share of struggles and currently sit at 3-8 overall. “Great Falls High is a very good basketball team, and CMR is playing very well right now,” Havre High head coach Dustin Kraske said. “I know CMR has a new coach, but they are settling in, and I think that these are going to be two very good games against two good teams. We know we have to play well to beat both of these programs this weekend.” The Ponies defeated the Rustlers 39-23 in December, but the Bison defeated the Ponies 54-51 in early January. Havre has played outstandingly lately, making this weekend all about consistency. The Ponies aren’t in a situation where they need to expand their game plan or plan of at- And offensively our spacing was the best it has been this past weekend, and our kids do a wonderful job of sharing the ball. It will be really important all this continues, as well as we need to continue to not force shots and find the open looks.” But as impressive as the numbers have been for Havre High, the Ponies know neither of the next two games will turn out to be easy outings. Great Falls High, the No. 2 team in Class AA has a lot of talent, including Liz Klinker, Markaela Francis, Mercedes Bourgeau and Taylor Kumm. And the Rustlers house solid ball players like Taylor Edwards. And playing more physical and at a higher tempo than most of the Central A teams the Ponies face, this weekend will be good for the Ponies to work on making game adjustments. Havre will have to beat pressure and show they can execute a press offense in both games. The Ponies will also look to attack the basket against the press, something Kraske knows will be key once the Ponies reach the state tournament. “The biggest thing right now is to just tweak what we have been do- ing already on the offensive end,” Kraske said. “We need to be able to make adjustments against what the defense is going to try to run against us. “We are like most teams at this point in the season, we are just playing comfortably together,” Kraske added. “We need to continue to make practice difficult for our kids which only benefits us through the season. But Great Falls and CMR play a little differently than maybe the Class A opponents do that we have playing. Both really get in your face and pressure you, they make you put the ball on the floor and make you play quicker than you want. They are also more physical than teams we typically play so that will be a good adjustment for our girls. We need to come out and play how we play, but also control the tempo of how the game will be played.” Tonight the Ponies will host the Class AA Great Falls High Bison at the Havre High Gymnasium at 7. And Saturday the Ponies will take to the road to face the Class AA CMR Rustlers at 4 p.m. at the CMR Fieldhouse in Great Falls. 24 March 2014 Blue Pony girls rock Rangers, Panthers Bue Ponies travel to Livingston, Belgrade Daniel Horton Havre Daily News sports writer email@example.com Somehow, the Havre High girls basketball team continues to outdo itself. This past weekend was no exception as the Central A Blue Ponies dominated their two conference games. The Ponies spent two days on the road and returned home with two more conference wins, and are now 6-0 and still in first place in the league standings. Friday night, the Ponies dominated Livingston 58-16 in Livingston, and Saturday, the Ponies kept rolling with a dominating win over Belgrade, 66-33. Overall, it was a great weekend for the Ponies as they continue to push for another conference title and state berth, “Our kids have played so well lately,” Havre High head coach Dustin Kraske said, “so it was nice to see them continue to play well. We talked during the week about continuing to play how we play, not concerning ourselves too much with the score, just go out and play to the high expectations that we have for ourselves. Our kids did a nice job of that.” Giving up just 16 points in a varsity basketball game was an impressive showing by the HHS defense in Livingston. The Ponies' up-tempo style and constant pressure gave up just two points in both the first and third quarters, respectively. Livingston also scored just six in the second and fourth quarters as the Ponies proved to be too tough all around for the Rangers. On the flip side, Havre’s offense scored at least 16 in all but the fourth quarter. The Ponies were paced by Brandy Lambourne’s 20 points and Morgan Mazurkiewicz’s 12. Havre’s offensive production continued Saturday when Lambourne led the way with another 25 points. Morgan Mazurkiewicz kicked in 10 and Dani Wagner finished with eight. It was good to see that the Ponies played well through eight straight quarters, finding ways to score points while the defense continued to slam the door in the face of opposition. Belgrade’s 33 points was nowhere near good enough to keep pace. “Our kids were in the passing lanes, they communicated very well, and rotated very well on defense,” Kraske said. “It was just a great effort all the way around and on both ends of the floor. The scores were lopsided, but we still got after each other to play well. We didn’t expect anybody to let up because of the scores. At halftime we talked about wanting our defense to be better, and we came out and gave up four points in the third quarter against Belgrade. It was good that our girls made the decision to play how we play, and not lessen our enthusiasm because of the score.” Havre’s unselfish play has propelled the Ponies into an already successful regular season. And with two conference games left, the Ponies have put themselves into a great position to finish in first place heading into the postseason. With one more conference win the Ponies will clinch the No. 1 seed in the Central A tournament next month. Thursday, the Ponies will be back in action when they host Great Falls High. And Saturday, the Ponies will face CMR in Great Falls. Havre 58, Livingston 16 Havre 18 16 18 6 – 58 Livingston 2 6 2 6 – 16 Havre – Breck Don 2, Brandy Lambourne 20, Dani Wagner 2, Morgan Mazurkiewicz 12, Lacey Waid 5, Peyton Filius 7, Tori Mazurkieiwcz 3, Haley Ohm 5. Livingston – Megan Schoenen 4, Hailey Peterson 2, Meadow Ingram 4, Chelsea Woods 4, Mariel Kelley 2. Havre 66, Belgrade 33 Havre 16 19 18 13 – 66 Belgrade 9 12 4 8 – 33 Havre – Brandy Lambourne 25, Dani Wagner 8, Morgan Mazurkiewicz 10, Lacey Waid 7, Peyton Filius 7, Tori Mazurkiewicz 7, Haley Ohm 2. Belgrade – Kindall Bethke 2, Sadie Reddick 1, Alexis Clingingsmith 7, Madison Page 2, Erin Singleton 6, Tanna Holliday 12, STATE GIRLS BASKETBALL CHAMPS 2014 CLASS A www.havredailynews.com Havre Daily News/Daniel Horton Blue Pony senior Lacey Waid launches a shot during a game at the HHS gymnasium. Shaylee Ragar 2, Jamie Woolman 1. 25 March 2014 STATE GIRLS BASKETBALL CHAMPS Dustin Kraske said. “I would think Livingston and Belgrade have made some adjustments, but that is everybody for the most part. But everybody knows conference games on the road are difficult and we have to play our best if we want to do well. I anticipate our girls will play well.” The Ponies defeated the Rangers by nearly 40 points last time, as well as turning around and beating the Panthers by 20 the next night. Havre’s up-tempo style and pressure defense gave both teams trouble. Havre also has too many offensive weapons for most teams to stop, but if the Ponies aren’t playing up to their own high standards, they aren’t untouchable. Belgrade played the Ponies tight through the first half in the first matchup and coach Kraske can relate that to the Ponies’ defensive efforts. When the HHS defense is aggressive, they are tough to get past. The Ponies execute a full-court press at a very high level and shut down an offense in the half court with their man defense. The lively defense has come up with 87 steals already this season and earned a reputation for forcing tough shots and almost no fast break buckets. Brandy Lambourne leads the Ponies with 19 steals this season. It is no coincidence that when the HHS defense plays well, the Blue Pony offense and team as a whole play well. That is why defense is the main focus moving forward. Livingston’s Megan Schoenen will be tough to stop, as will Belgrade’s Erin Singleton and Alexis Clingingsmith. “I think that against Belgrade the first time, we didn’t play as well defensively as we would have liked,” Kraske said. “The mindset that we have now means we need to have more consistency and balance, and I think that will be the difference in both of these games this weekend. We are feeling good about where our offense is at, but we need to have the mindset about playing big time defense every time down the floor no matter the score. That is our goal this week, we want to play influential defensively, and we are going to force teams to play how we play. Sharing the ball, making the extra pass and finding the best possible shot has been crucial for the HHS offense. It has allowed not only Peyton Filius to average more than 12 points per game, but also Lambourne more than 10 and Morgan Mazurkiewicz nearly nine per game. Havre also gets good balance with Haley Ohm, Lacey Waid 2014 CLASS A www.havredailynews.com HHS girls hunting for more Central A wins on the road Havre High runs away with Central A Conference road games Daniel Horton Havre Daily News sports writer firstname.lastname@example.org As the defending Central A Championships twice over, the Havre High girls basketball team knows the importance of conference games. The Central A Blue Ponies went 4-0 through the first half of conference play this season. This weekend, the Ponies will begin the second go-around with two more conference games on the road. Tonight, the Ponies will face the Livingston Rangers in Livingston. Saturday afternoon, the Ponies will face the Belgrade Panthers in Belgrade. Havre is 7-3 overall. HHS has played all but one conference game at home to this point. Two important games on the road are never easy, but the talented Ponies are still looking up. “We are pretty confident in ourselves because we are playing well,” Havre High head coach Havre Daily News Havre High senior Peyton Filius makes a pass during a girls high school basketball game against Malta earlier this month at the Havre High gymnasium. The Blue Ponies put their undefeated Central A Conference record on the line when they visit Livingston tonight and Belgrade Saturday. and Tori Mazurkiewicz. It’s a big weekend for the Ponies as they can all but lock up the regular season title with two more wins. Tonight, the Ponies are in Livingston to take on the Rangers at 5. Saturday the Ponies will face the Panthers in Belgrade at 2 p.m. Both games can be heard on 610 AM KOJM. 26 March 2014 Havre High girls win at Browning, crush Morning Stars at home Daniel Horton Havre Daily News sports writer email@example.com Over the last couple of weeks the Havre High girls basketball team has made it a habit of earning dominating and crucial victories. If the pattern continues, the Central A Blue Ponies should find themselves earning another regular-season and divisional-tournament title, as well as another berth in the Class A State basketball tournament in March. Over the weekend the Ponies grabbed two more wins. Friday night on the road, the Ponies managed to return from Browning with a narrow 70-63 conference win over the Indians. And Saturday at the Havre High gymnasium, the Ponies made short work of the Class B Rocky Boy Morning Stars, winning 69-44. The weekend sweep puts the Ponies at 4-0 in conference play and 7-3 overall. After the valuable conference win, the Ponies did get a chance to show off again for the home crowd. “Rocky Boy has a nice little team,” Havre High head coach Dustin Kraske said. “They did a nice job and played hard the entire game. I thought our kids played well, too. Both teams made some shots, and it ended up being a decent game.” Saturday the Ponies’ offense picked up right where it left off after Friday’s win, beating the Morning Stars with a dose of their own medicine. The Ponies ran Rocky Boy out of the gym with buckets in transition and plenty of wide-open 3-pointers to go around. Out of the gate the Morning Stars were stride for stride with the Ponies. A bucket by Minnie The Boy at the 3:43 mark even closed the HHS gap to 9-8 in the first quarter. But in the closing moments the Ponies managed an 11-4 run that included eight points from Havre’s Brandy Lambourne. The offensive production continued for the Ponies while the Morning Stars struggled to keep the same productive pace. Havre erupted for 17 points in the second frame and another 20 in the third. The Ponies also outscored the Morning Stars 12-7 in the final frame to ensure the big win. Rocky Boy did put up 17 in the third, but it wasn’t enough to close the gap, even with two 3-pointers by Chanal Standing Rock and another trey by The Boy. The Ponies took advantage of some Morning Star mistakes midway through the third to prevent Rocky Boy from gaining ground with a solid run. On three straight Rocky Boy turnovers, Havre hit three straight buckets to take a 48-27 lead. And even after Standing Rock was able to hit 3-pointers on consecutive possessions, Peyton Filius matched that with her two triples on consecutive possessions for the Ponies. Filius led the Ponies with 21 Rolling Right Along points. Lambourne tallied 20 while Morgan Mazurkiewicz and Lacey Waid scored eight points each. “Our kids played well, and even early on I think we passed up some open shots,” Kraske said. “But that is fine, we just need to do a little better offensively and get our baseline kids involved. I think we missed Haley Ohm and Lacey Waid a bit, so we need to a better job of that.” Rocky Boy was led by Standing Rock with 14 points, followed by Kylee Raining Bird’s 12. Jude The Boy finished with seven for the Morning Stars. The HHS offense was run-andgun Friday also, but the defense had some trouble limiting the Indians on their home court. Browning had two girls score in double digits, as Shelsey St. Goddard finished with 10 and Tiara Gilham finished with a game-high 24 points. “Browning was fantastic. They played hard, and Gilham played very, very well,” Kraske said. “But we knew it would be a battle. They are a very good basketball team, and we were fortunate to get out of their with a win. “They really keyed on Gilham, and you could tell she was in a groove,” Kraske added. “She made her first couple of shots and it was ‘here-we-go’ basically. She shot with confidence, and they did a nice job trying to get her the ball. I think we were just a step slow early, then played OK, then were a step slow again. It was an interesting game. Browning was wonderful, but our kids battled for that win.” It was a back-and-forth game all night long, and the Ponies even saw their small lead disappear with about 4:00 left to play in regulation. After holding a 51-48 lead heading into the fourth quarter the Ponies soon found themselves trailing by one point. But, keeping their heads and continuing to execute, the Ponies made a nice run to retake the lead, eventually earning the win by a narrow seven points. Lambourne had another big game with 19 points, and the Ponies also got 17 from Morgan Mazurkiewicz. Filius finished with 16 points, while Ohm got 13 down low for HHS. “We are playing a lot more confident against the defense,” Filius said. “And I have a lot of confidence in my teammates, too. We are playing together really well lately and we have a great team dynamic right now. We try to play quick, but not hurried, and we try to play our tempo, not their tempo. We like to play fast.” “Our kids really executed and made some nice plays down the stretch,” Kraske added. “It was a total team effort, bottom line. Havre 17 11 21 19 – 70 Browning 14 12 22 15 – 63 STATE GIRLS BASKETBALL CHAMPS 2014 CLASS A www.havredailynews.com That is a tough place to play. Their fans really show their support. It showed the character of our kids. They did a nice job, took care of the pressure, got some baskets, and just did a fantastic job.” After another great weekend the Ponies will now prepare for two conference games on the road. Friday the Ponies will face the Rangers in Livingston and Saturday they will face the Panthers in Belgrade. Havre 70, Browning 63 Havre – Brandy Lambourne 19, Dani Wagner 2, Morgan Mazurkiewicz 17, Peyton Filius 16, Tori Mazurkiewicz 3, Haley Ohm 13. Totals: 23 17-23. Browning – Rachel Hepner 7, Courtney Littledog 6, Shelsey St. Goddard 10, Shelby St. Goddard 7, Tiara Gilham 24, Cydnie Sharp 4, Jayla Wells 2, Ivana Spotted Eagle 3. Totals: 22 13-22. Total fouls: Havre 20, Browning 18. Fouled out: T. Mazurkiewicz. Three pointers: Lambourne 3, M. Mazurkiewicz 2, Filius 2, Littledog 1, Shelsey St. Goddard 2, Gilham 2, Spotted Eagle 1. Havre 69, Rocky Boy 44 Rocky Boy 12 8 17 7 – 44 Havre 20 17 20 12 – 69 Rocky Boy — Jude The Boy 7, Chanal Standing Rock 14, Minnie The Boy 7, Jurnee Laforce 4, Kylee Raining Bird 12. Havre — Breck Don 3, Brandy Lambourne 20, Dani Wagner 2, Morgan Mazurkiewicz 8, Lacey Waid 8, Peyton Filius 21, Tori Mazurkiewicz 3, Lindsey Kudrna 4. Blue Pony girls hit the road before taking on Morning Stars Saturday Daniel Horton Havre Daily News sports writer firstname.lastname@example.org The tough games keep coming for the Havre High girls basketball team, but so should the wins. Last weekend, the Central A Blue Ponies seemed to hit full stride with wins over Conrad and Lewistown. Now headed into another regular season weekend, the Ponies (3-0,53) will face two more talented programs. Conference games on the road make a tough matchup even tougher in the Central A. But the Ponies will look to continue their dominance over conference opponents tonight in Browning when they take on the Indians. The load doesn’t lighten too much when the Ponies return home on Saturday either, hosting the Class B Rocky Boy Morning Stars at the Havre High Gymnasium. Saturday’s matchup has all the makings of an instant rivalry, but the Ponies are focused on the most meaningful game of the two — their matchup with the Indians. “We are focusing on our conference game on the road,” Havre High head coach Dustin Kraske said. “It is our first one of the season (on the road) and we are pretty excited to get over there and play. Browning is a nice basketball team, they are well coached, and they play hard, and always do a good job. But it is a tough place to win, so we have prepared in practice to play the best we can.” Browning is always pushing for one of the top spots in the conference, and the Indians do so with a number of talented guards that can run the floor and score from all over. The Indians are currently right in the middle of the Central A pack, but they have a talented scorer in Tiara Gilham, who’s averaging 15 points per game and more than five rebounds per game. But Chelsey St. Goddard returns for the Indians and is pitching in more than seven-points per game so far this season. It is no secret that if a defense can’t keep up, the Indians can put up plenty of points, and can do so in a hurry. The Indians are averaging just over 55 points per game, and have posted more than 60-points five different times. Haley Ohm’s presence inside could be crucial for Havre. If the Indians are held to one shot opportunity on an offensive possession with Ohm dominating the boards, then the Ponies can get transition quicker and smoother into their own offense. It is a Blue Pony offense that isn’t afraid to get out and run themselves. With a slew of speedy guards the Ponies can get double digit scoring from Lacey Waid, Morgan Mazurkiewicz, Tori Mazurkiewicz, Peyton Filius and Brandy Lambourne. HHS is averaging just under 50 points per game, but the offense is coming off a win last weekend where it posted 68 against Lewistown. The Ponies will look to keep that offensive production rolling in both games this weekend. The more they move the ball, the better that offense gets. “In my opinion, when you play Browning they try to make you play faster than what you want,” Kraske said. “Sometimes you maybe take the first shot available instead of the first best shot available, so that is going to be our focus. When we get in positions to score, we don’t need to take the first shot, but the best shot. We need to find the open kid and make the extra pass. Our kids have done that well in practice and I would anticipate they will continue to do that.” What the Ponies will see on Saturday out of the Morning Stars will look a lot like what they see tonight out of the Indians. Only the Morning Stars have been more boom or bust this season. Housing just three seniors and one junior on the roster, the Morning Stars have six underclassmen earning ample playing time. Senior Chanel Standing Rock, who played her sophomore year with the Blue Ponies, leads the way with her more than 20 points per game. She scored 40 against Harlem last month. Jude The Boy, Kylee Raining Bird, and 5-5 freshman Minnie The Boy also help carry the load on a team that can score in a hurry, but has also had their share of struggles this season. “It will be nice to play a team that we aren’t familiar with,” Kraske ■ See Morning Stars Page 29 27 March 2014 Ponies beat Cowgirls, Eagles Daniel Horton Havre Daily News sports writer email@example.com Often times, there is a distinct weekend or game in a prep basketball season that sets the tone for the rest of the season. That weekend could turn out to be this last one for the Havre High girls basketball team as the Blue Ponies played two very solid games. Entering the weekend 3-3 overall, the Central A Blue Ponies had recorded some decent wins, but also lost some close matchups. And while fans have been waiting to see just what the team is capable of, wins over Conrad and Lewistown could just be the beginning. Friday night, the Ponies defeated the Conrad Cowgirls 49-39 in Conrad, and Saturday the Ponies defeated the conference rival Lewistown Golden Eagles 68-35 at home. The Ponies are now 5-3 overall and 3-0 in conference play. “It was a good weekend,” Havre’s Brandy Lambourne said. “It felt good to get our momentum going again after a couple of tough losses. And Conrad is always a really tough place to win, so that was good for us, too.” After the win Friday the Ponies returned home to treat the home crowed to one of their best performances of the season. In the dominating win over Eagles there wasn’t much the Ponies did that didn’t go in their favor. The normally tight-knit defense did fluctuate in success, but that didn’t keep the offense from bursting onto the scene and taking over. The result was eight out of the 10 Ponies that took the floor getting on the scoreboard, as well as each of the 10 girls recording at least one assist by the end of the night. Morgan Mazurkiewicz led the way with her 19 points, while Lambourne followed with 15, and Peyton Filius followed with another 10. Tori Mazurkiewicz finished with nine, while Lacey Waid finished with six, Haley Ohm finished with four, Breck Don finished with three and Lindsey Kudrna finished with two. Havre was also 8-of-9 from the free-throw line and knocked down a staggering 10 3-pointers. Morgan Mazurkiewicz had three 3-pointers to lead the team again. “Offensively, we were very much in rhythm and played very well together,” Havre High head coach Dustin Kraske said. “We were able to really space things out and make the extra pass to get the best shot. If anything got us going it was our kids making one extra pass, passing up a good shot and getting a better shot. That was the difference in the game. “And defensively,” Kraske added, “I think we went up and down a bit. Early we did some trapping, and when we rotated or switched into something else it wasn’t the same enthusiasm. Then we switched into something back and got that enthusiasm back, so it seemed like we just kept going up and down whenever we tried to switch things up or execute something differently.” There were distinct times during Saturday’s matchup where the Ponies had to think fast and make on-the-go adjustments to the changing defense. The Ponies were in a half-court zone look for the majority of the game, but worked on, as well as tweaked, things throughout the game. HHS jumped out to a 10-0 first quarter lead, but was outscored 8-5 in the final 3:15. HHS also gave up seven points in the first four minutes of the second quarter, but allowed just two points in the final four leading up to the half as they took a 33-17 lead. The trend continued for the Pony defense. Lewistown scored on four out of their first five possessions in the third quarter, but didn’t score in the final 5:19. And in the fourth quarter the Ponies gave up just nine total points for the third straight quarter, with just three of those Eagle points coming in the final 3:40 of the contest. “Lewistown is a nice basketball team,” Kraske said, “but we made them play uncomfortable tonight and that caused us to have success. The score doesn’t mean much to me, they are a nice team and we know we will have our hands full when we play them down there, for sure.” STATE GIRLS BASKETBALL CHAMPS 2014 CLASS A www.havredailynews.com The win over Lewistown came after a win over the Cowgirls Friday night. Both teams got off to a slow start with a combined 11-points in the first eight minutes, but as the Cowgirls continued to struggle, the Ponies’ offense went off. HHS held a healthy 22-15 lead at the break, but gained ground with 27-points in the second half. But the 10-point victory didn’t come before the Cowgirls tested Havre High. “We fought our tails off to beat them,” Kraske said. “Conrad always plays hard, and playing in their gym is like playing here, the home team always just seems to play well. We were up at one point 16-points, but they made a run and kept clawing and clawing. Pretty soon we were up just six, and our girls had to do a nice job down the stretch to pull away. We didn’t play our best basketball down there, but we played all right and it was a good win.” Filius scored 18 points to lead the way, while Lambourne finished with 13 points. Ohm followed with six, and both Morgan Mazurkiewicz and Tori Mazurkiewicz finished with five-points each. Havre travels to Browning Friday night before returning home to host the Rocky Boy Morning Stars Saturday night. Havre 49, Conrad 39 Havre 5 17 14 13 – 49 Conrad 6 9 7 17 – 39 Havre – Breck Don 2, Brandy Lambourne 13, Morgan Mazurkiewicz 5, Peyton Filius 18, Tori Mazurkiewicz 5, Haley Ohm 6. Totals: 17 10-14. Conrad – Taryn Erickson 9, Hayley Orcutt 11, Makayla Barringer 4, Michalea DeBro 2, Emily Harwood 6, Morgan VanDyke 7. Totals: 16 5-12. Total fouls: Havre 15, Conrad 11. Fouled out: None. Three pointers: Lambourne 2, M. Mazurkiewicz 1, Filius 2, Erickson 1, Orcutt 1. Havre 68, Lewistown 35 Havre Daily News/Daniel Horton Havre's Morgan Mazurkiewicz drives the ball to the basket during Saturday night's Central A girls game between Havre and Lewistown at the HHS gymnasium. Lewistown 8 9 9 9 - 35 Havre 15 18 23 12 – 68 Lewistown – Mikaela Olson 4, Nicole Karhi 4, Jessica Kinzarski 9, Maddie Comes 4, Tara Olson 3, Michelle Monger 1, Jaree Mane 10. Totals: 15 5-6. Havre – Breck Don 3, Brandy Lambourne 15, Morgan Mazurkiewicz 19, Lacey Waid 6, Peyton Filius 10, Tori Mazurkiewicz 9, Haley Ohm 4, Lindsey Kudrna 2. Totals: 25 8-9. Total fouls: Lewistown 11, Havre 11. Fouled out: None. Three pointers: Olson 1, Mane 2, Don 1, Lambourne 2, M. Mazurkiewicz 4, Filius 2, T. Mazurkiewicz 1. State Champs ■ Continued from page 3 together,” Kraske said. “We have kids who bought into and believed in what we were doing, and they all accepted and played their own role and did it all very well. It’s just a really special group, and I’m so happy for them that they get to experience this. There’s no other feeling like this.” “I can’t explain how I feel right now because it is so exciting,” said senior Lacey Waid. “We did it. We finally did it and it is just exciting. I am bawling, then I am excited again, then I am bawling, then excited again. This is something we can definitely be proud of and look back on forever.” Sunday night, the team was honored with a parade from Holiday Village Mall. Kraske, assistant Kelly Mazurkiewicz and members of the Blue Ponies spoke to parents and fans about the experience of winning a state championship, while also thanking all of their supporters. “This success is a product of the unconditional love and support these kids have for each other,” Kraske said inside the HHS Auditorium. “I told the kids last night (Saturday) they will never take this state championship trophy down. Divisional trophies get moved or taken down through the years, but the state championship ones stay in the trophy cases forever. So I’m so happy that all of these kids will get to come back here for the rest of their lives and see this trophy in the trophy case here at Havre High.” Havre Daily News/Daniel Horton Havre High students cheer on the Blue Ponies during Saturday night's Class A state championship game in Great Falls. For more photos, see the galleries at www.havredailynews.com. 28 March 2014 HHS girls face Eagles Saturday night Daniel Horton Havre Daily News sports writer firstname.lastname@example.org After starting the season 3-3 overall and 2-0 in conference play, the Havre High girls basketball program has a chance to pick up two more wins with one nonconference game at home, and one conference matchup on the road this weekend. The tough schedule continues to throw talented teams at the Central A Blue Ponies, but Havre knows both games are winnable. Tonight, the Ponies will face the Class B Conrad Cowgirls on the road in Conrad. Saturday, the Ponies will return home to the Havre High Gymnasium where they will face the conference rival Lewistown Golden Eagles. The Ponies are currently the No. 1 team in the Central A and will look to extend that lead with a win over the Eagles Saturday. If the Blue Ponies can find a way to limit turnovers, then the likelihood of grabbing a win or two will greatly increase. The turnover count climbed dangerously close to 50 in two nonconference games a week ago. The turnovers kept the Ponies from finding any kind of offensive groove, rare for a team that has a scorer in any player who steps on the floor, including Peyton Filius, Brandy Lambourne, Morgan Mazurkieiwcz, Tori Mazurkiewicz, Lacey Waid, Haley Ohm and Breck Don. Sophomore Dani Wagner has also earned increasing minutes and has proven she too can get to the hole and score at the varsity level. Defensively, the Ponies have also proved to be dangerous. In their wins, the opposition hasn’t scored more than 40, but in the most recent losses, the Ponies have given up over 50 in each contest. Havre can take several different forms with man and zone looks, as well as full- and half-court presses. If the Ponies can tighten up and close down the lanes, then they have what it takes to make teams struggle on the offensive end of the floor. The Cowgirls will look to get a lot of production out of Hayley Orcutt, Barringer and Morgan VanDyke. And facing the Eagles Saturday, the Ponies will have to limit Mikaela Olson above anybody else. The Eagles have more offensive tallent, but Olson is averaging nearly 12 points per game this year and will take advantage of any holes in the HHS defense. Tonight, the Ponies will face the Cowgirls in Conrad at 7. Saturday, the Ponies will look to extend their Central A lead when they host Lewistown at 5 p.m. at the Havre High Gymnasium. STATE GIRLS BASKETBALL CHAMPS 2014 CLASS A www.havredailynews.com Havre Daily News/Daniel Horton Havre High's Peyton Filius takes the ball around a Belgrade defender during a Central A girls game last month in Havre. After visiting Conrad tonight, the Ponies return home to host Lewistown Saturday. Blue Pony girls drops games to tough Bison and M-Ettes Daniel Horton Havre Daily News sports writer email@example.com Some outings, the Havre High girls basketball team looks poised to go on a great run through the regular season and into the postseason. But in other outings, like the two games they played this weekend, the Central A Blue Ponies find themselves fighting an uphill battle. Coming out of the short break in action, the Ponies played two non-conference games. Friday, the Ponies were in Great Falls to take on the Class AA GFH Bison. The Bison defeated the Ponies 54-51. And Saturday, the Ponies returned to the Havre High gymnasium to take on the Class B Malta M-Ettes for the second time this season. The M-Ettes completed the season sweep by defeating the Ponies 53-37. Saturday’s home loss was a little more frustrating for the head coach Dustin Kraske. The HHS offense couldn’t settle into a productive groove and gave the ball away too many times against a stout Malta man-to-man. The Ponies turned the ball over 16 times against Malta. “We didn’t do what we were supposed to,” coach Kraske said, “and we probably had 50 turnovers this weekend. That isn’t too impressive, and we have to make some changes in what we are doing.” Shooting wasn’t on the side of the Ponies either. As the game progressed the M-Ettes stretched the lead further and further. HHS was outscored in all but the third quarter, where both teams posted 13 points. And it seemed like even against a tough Havre zone defense, whatever the M-Ettes shot went down. Malta opened the first half by shooting 71 percent from the field, knocking down 10-of-14 shots. Havre opened the first half hitting just 4-of-17 and trailing 24-13. The Blue Ponies did show signs of life at the end of the third period when Brandy Lambourne got to the hole two times for four quick points. Peyton Filius then hit a 3-pointer to open the fourth quarter and to narrow the deficit to 10 points. But the quick spark soon fizzled as the M-Ettes reeled off a 12-3 run to stretch the lead to 49-30. Malta outscored Havre 16-13 in the fourth to put the finishing touches on the Ponies. “We did not compete as hard as we would have liked,” Kraske said. “I think the most difficult part was getting ourselves to push through the difficult times. Malta played well, and they put us in positions where we were having to play smarter than we wanted, and we weren’t quite there. Malta is a nice team, and don’t get me wrong, but we are better than we played against them, and I think we are all pretty frustrated about that.” Sophia Stiles had a solid outing against the Ponies and led all scorers with 15 points. Filius led the Ponies and finished with 12 points, while Lambourne followed with eight. Morgan Mazurkiewicz and Tori Mazurkiewicz scored five each, and Haley Ohm finished with four. On the road on Friday, the Ponies ran into a very athletic, and impressive Bison team. Turnovers haunted the Ponies Friday as well, and made it difficult for the Ponies to achieve a comeback win. Great Falls led 33-32 heading into the fourth quarter, and the Ponies found themselves in striking distance most of the game, even after the Bison had an 8-0 run to start the fourth, extending the lead to 41-32. The Ponies bounced back with a 7-0 run of their own and trailed just 41-39 with 5:30 left to play. The Bison hit some big shots, including a trey by Liz Klinker who eventually finished with 13 big points. But in the final minutes a couple of costly turnovers and some big-time free throws kept the advantage on the Great Falls side. The Ponies finished with 23 turnovers. Havre was led by Morgan Mazurkiewicz with 14 points, and Lambourne kicked in another 10. Filius finished with nine points, and Tori Mazurkiewicz and Ohm scored six points each. “They (Bison) played really well and we turned the ball over way too much,” Kraske said, “and they took advantage of that. When we were five-on-five against them defensively, we were really good, but when we put ourselves in position where we were odd-balled with four on three, or three on two, they took advantage of that too. But our kids, to their credit were resilient, made runs, and battled back.” The Ponies fell to 3-3 overall and have another tough weekend ahead of them. Friday Havre will face Class B Conrad on the road and Saturday the Ponies will host Lewistown in conference action. Great Falls High 54, Havre 51 Havre 8 15 9 19 – 51 Great Falls 8 15 10 21 – 54 Havre – Breck Don 0 2-2 2, Brandy Lambourne 0 9-10, Dani Wagner 1-1 0-0 2, Morgan Mazurkiewicz 4 3-3 14, Lacey Waid 1 1-2 3, Peyton Filius 3 3-3 9, Tori Mazurkiewicz 3 0-0 6, Haley Ohm 3 0-0 6. Totals: 15 18-20. Great Falls – Liz Klinker 4 4-4 13, Brooke Dart 1 0-0 3, Nora Klick 2 0-1 4, Mercedes Bourgeau 1 6-8 8, Lyndee Feisthamel 2 0-0 4, Mikaela Kynett 0 2-4 2, Markaela Francis 5 1-4 12, Taylor Kumm 2 0-2 6, Natalie Klinker 1 0-1 2. Totals: 18 13-24. Malta 53, Havre 37 Malta 10 14 13 16 - 53 Havre 6 7 11 13 - 37 Malta – Marley Manowkian 2, Sophia Stiles 15, Markelle Lett 2, Hailey Nicholson 12, Mercedes Stiles 8, Kelsey Kuhn 2, Rebecca Smith 3, Darby Schye 9. Totals: 23 5-14. Havre – Breck Don 2, Brandy Lambourne 8, Morgan Mazurkiewicz Havre Daily News Havre High senior Breck Don looks to pass the ball during Saturday night's game between the Blue Ponies and Malta M-Ettes in Havre. 5, Lacey Waid 1, Peyton Filius 12, Tori Mazurkiewicz 5, Haley Ohm 4. Totals: 12 9-15. Total fouls: Malta 15, Havre 14. Fouled out: Waid. Three pointers: M. Stiles 1, Smith 1, M. Mazurkiewicz 1, Filius 2, T. Mazurkiewicz 1. 29 Pony girls battle Bison, M-Ettes Daniel Horton Havre Daily News sports writer firstname.lastname@example.org Break time is over and the Havre High girls basketball team is ready to go back to work. Before the holiday break, the Central A Blue Ponies got off to a 3-1 start overall and a 2-0 start in the division. The final games before the break resulted in a 64-25 win over Livingston and a 57-37 win over Belgrade for HHS. It was a hot start, and the Ponies have only gotten better since the beginning of the season. Today and Saturday, the Ponies will resume play, hopefully showing just how much they have improved. Playing on the road tonight, the Ponies will face the Class AA Great Falls High Bison. The Bison are also 3-1 overall. Saturday, the Ponies will resume non-league action with a rematch against the Class B Malta M-Ettes at the Havre High gymnasium at 5 p.m. The MEttes defeated the Ponies 47-37 in the Ponies’ first game of the season, their only loss. But exiting the break, the Ponies don’t want to just pick up where they left off, they want to continue to show improvement. Head coach Dustin Kraske said it was a good break and the team continued to build on their game and what they do best. At this point, the Ponies are still trying to get better by playing together, communicating more on defense and continuing to look for more offensive rhythm. If the Ponies have improved in all of those areas, they should be able to play well against both Great Falls High and Malta over the weekend. “We were pretty happy to be 2-0 in our league and 3-1 overall,” Kraske said. “I think our kids were playing pretty good basketball right before the break, and we are just looking to improve upon that and hopefully play better basketball in January, and hopefully our best basketball at the end of the year in February. Our non-league games are fantastic this season. The teams are good and you have to be at your best or that isn’t good enough. We are looking forward to playing Great Falls and Malta. We had some good days off, but the kids are excited and looking to improve.” The Bison are somewhat of a mystery to the Ponies this season, but they do know they can expect a talented team and a tough game. GFH is small and quick, and play a similar style to HHS. The Bison are always well coached and not only pressed the Ponies with their defense last year, but also presented the Ponies with tough zone looks. The Bison can also score in transition, as well hit jump shots with athletes like Mercedes Bourgeau, Lizzy Klinker, Nora Klick and Mikaela Kynett. The Ponies match up well, but heavily lean on their shooters to get past the Bison, especially against the zone defense. Peyton Filius and Brandy Lambourne have a lot to do with the Ponies success, but shooters like Morgan Mazurkiewicz, Tori Mazurkiewic and Breck Don can also help carry the load. Lacey Waid can slash to the hole and Haley Ohm’s size gives the Ponies scoring inside. “They (Bison) will make us play well,” Kraske said. “Especially down there in Great Falls. It is always a difficult place to play, but we are looking forward to the challenge. I think they are one of the top five teams in Class AA — that is my opinion.” But that same offensive core will have to continue to play at home on Saturday against March 2014 STATE GIRLS BASKETBALL CHAMPS 2014 CLASS A www.havredailynews.com the M-Ettes. Malta isn’t the same powerhouse they have been in recent years, but did take advantage of the Ponies who did not play, or shoot well the first go-around. Malta still houses athletes like Sophia Stiles, Kelsey Kuhn, Darby Schye and Mercedes Stiles. But Havre’s Filius and Lambourne have shot very well as of late and should be able to help turn the tables the second time around. However, it isn’t about revenge for the Ponies. A win would be nice, but HHS isn’t focused on that and that alone. “We haven’t even talked about that. And when we do talk about it,” Kraske said. “It will be about playing better, not about getting even. That game is over with, we didn’t play our best and Malta played well. They are playing better I would assume, but so are we. We will have to play pretty good basketball to beat them, and our kids are looking forward to going out and doing their best.” Tonight the Ponies will face the Bison of Great Falls High in Great Falls. Saturday, the Ponies will host the Malta M-Ettes at 5 p.m. at the Havre High gymnasium. Sweep: Pony girls crush Rangers, Panthers Daniel Horton Havre Daily News sports writer email@example.com The Havre High girls basketball team has certainly found the friendly confines of the HHS gymnasium to its liking. And the good vibes at home continued this weekend. Friday and Saturday the Ponies played two Central A Conference games at the Havre high Gymnasium. Friday, Havre defeated the Livingston Rangers 64-25 and Saturday the Ponies defeated the conference rival Belgrade Panthers 57-37. The consecutive lopsided victories proved that HHS is still the program to beat in the Central A after backto-back regular season and divisional tournament champions. “It was a total team effort both nights and the girls did a nice job,” Havre High head coach Dustin Kraske said. “We are totally pleased going into the break and we know we need to win these games at home if we want to win the league. We can’t sit any better at, 2-0 I guess, and we can still get better going into the break." During Friday’s win, the Ponies played their best game of the season by far, dominating play on offense and defense. The Ponies put the game away right out of the gate with a 16-3 first-quarter lead. The barrage of points only increased from there as the Ponies pressure defense turned into Ranger turnovers and HHS points in transition. The Ponies posted 19 points in the second quarter and 21 more in the third quarter as everything the Ponies did turned into easy layups and wide open jump shots. Livingston turned the ball over 17 times, including 12 times in the first two quarters. The result was seven Ponies getting in on the scoring action, paced by Peyton Filius with 20 points. Filius went off in the third quarter with two of her three 3-pointers and 12 points. HHS turned the ball over just seven times, getting past the Ranger defense with ease. Haley Ohm finished with 11 points, while Lacey Waid scored eight and Brandy Lambourne and Tori Mazurkiewicz finished with seven each. Dani Wagner came off the bench in the second quarter and grabbed four quick points, finishing with six. “I was totally pleased,” Kraske said. “Defensively, our kids communicated very well, and offensively they moved the ball side to side and found open shots. We played together very well and I was very pleased with our efforts.” The Havre defense also held an offense that proved it could put up points to next to nothing. Megan Schoenen is averaging 13 points per game this year for Livingston but was held to just six. Alyssa Bergsing was held to just six points. “I would like to think our defense had something to do with that,” Kraske said. “The kids were just on it all game long, and it was quite a thing to watch.” Saturday afternoon brought another win for the Ponies, but they didn’t quite play at the same dominating level as Friday. It is tough to nitpick a 20-point win, but the contest started as an 8-8 tie through the first quarter and just a 24-18 lead for the Ponies at the break. It wasn’t until Lambourne sparked the Pony efforts late in the third quarter that Havre was able to take full control and run away with the win. With 1:44 left in the third, Lambourne helped get the Ponies over their sluggish start. The defensive pressure really picked up for the Ponies and, soon after, HHS looked like the team that took the floor the night before. The Ponies started scoring in transition, and Lambourne helped lead an 8-2 run to close the quarter. Lambourne scored six points in the final 1:44 of the third. And the good play rolled over into the final frame as the Ponies outscored the Panthers 16-5. “I don’t think we were ready to go mentally,” Kraske said. “And I don’t think the coaching was the greatest tonight either. We were nonrhythmic offensively and I think that drove us a little crazy. And our kids had glimpses of playing together, but I think we were trying to force it. I thought the last couple minutes of the third quarter and the whole fourth quarter we were in it again. Defensively, we were up where we needed to be, we were playing hard and playing together. But when you get a couple easy buckets you feel better about yourself as a team.” Lambourne led the Ponies with 16 points, while Morgan Mazurkiewicz followed with 12, and Filius had a good outing with nine. Ohm also had eight and Wagner had six to also help lead the way. Havre will enter the holiday break with a 3-1 record overall and a 2-0 record in the Central A. Havre visits Great Falls High Jan. 3 and hosts Malta Jan. 4. Havre 64, Livingston 25 Livingston 3 6 10 6 — 25 Havre 16 19 21 8 — 64 Livingston – Sierra Higgs 3, Megan Schoenen 6, Hailey Peterson 2, Meadow Ingram 4, Mariel Kelley 1, Sabrina Durnez 3, Alyssa Bergsing 6. Totals: 9 6-13. Havre – Brandy Lambourne 7, Dani Warner 6, Morgan Mazurkiewicz 3, Lacey Waid 8, Peyton Filius 20, Tori Mazurkiewicz 7, Haley Ohm 11. Totals: 25 4-9. Total fouls – Livingston 14, Havre 15. Fouled out – None. Three pointers – Higgs 1, Brandy Lambourne 2, Morgan Mazurkiewicz 1, Peyton Filius 4. Havre 57, Belgrade 37 Belgrade 8 10 14 5 — 37 Havre 8 16 17 16 — 57 Belgrade – Kindall Bethe 10, Alexis Clingingsmith 8, Veronica Floyd 2, Ashley Koenia 1, Erin Singleton 6, Tanna Holiday 2, Shaylee Ragar 2, Jamie Woolman 6. Totals: 13 11-20. Havre – Brandy Lambourne 16, Dani Wagner 6, Morgan Mazurkiewicz 12, Lacey Waid 3, Peyton Filius 9, Tori Mazurkiewicz 3, Haley Ohm 8. Totals: 20 15-28. Total fouls – Belgrade 16, Havre 19. Fouled out – None. Three pointers – Morgan Mazurkiewicz 1, Peyton Filius 1. Morning Stars ■ Continued from page 26 said. “We are familiar with Chanel Standing Rock because she played in our program two years ago, but besides that we won’t even see any game film until after our Browning game. It will be a good opportunity for our team to just get better.” Tonight the Ponies are in Browning to play the Indians at 7, and Saturday night, the Ponies and Morning Stars begin their new rivalry at 5 p.m. at the HHS gymnasium. 30 March 2014 STATE GIRLS BASKETBALL CHAMPS 2014 CLASS A www.havredailynews.com Pony girls begin Central A title defense Daniel Horton Havre Daily News sports writer firstname.lastname@example.org Still in the beginning stages of the season, the Havre High girls basketball program knows it can still make some adjustments and improve. And going after two very important wins this weekend, the Central A Blue Ponies (00, 1-1) need those adjustments to take hold. Tonight marks the start of the conference portion of the schedule, and conference play continues for the Ponies on Saturday. And if the Ponies can build off what they did in their home-opener last weekend, they have a great shot at grabbing two wins and holding maintaining their spot at the top of the conference. Havre opens Central A play tonight at 6:30 against the Livingston Rangers, and the Ponies are home to host the Belgrade Panthers at 3:30 p.m. Saturday. “I am looking for our girls to keep defending like they did against CMR (Saturday),” Ponies wrangle Rustlers said. “Tonight was the complete opposite of that. “I thought we were very active, we were communicating very well, we talked, we helped on the ball, we pressured really well,” he added. “I thought they looked like they do in practice on defense. So it was very much appreciated to see that kind of defensive effort tonight.” Interestingly, CMR came out like gangbusters, taking a 6-0 lead less than three minutes into the game. But Havre chipped away slowly, and the outing was knotted at 6-6 at the end of the first quarter. But a stifling HHS defense would eventually allow the Ponies to take a 16-8 lead into halftime, as all the Rustlers could muster in the second period was a pair of free throws. Meanwhile, the Ponies got back-toback buckets from Breck Don and Tori Mazurkiewicz as their offense started to click a little better. In the third quarter, two more baskets by Don, and a Morgan Mazurkiewicz buzzer-beater, helped Havre hang on to its eight-point lead, and though the Rustlers played a little better in the second half, senior Lacey Waid scored eight of her game-high 10 points in the final eight minutes to help the Ponies win going away. The win over CMR was Havre’s first in quite some time, as the Ponies lost to the Rustlers twice in overtime last season. And though HHS didn’t play as well as Kraske would have liked on the offensive end, the Ponies did enough to balance out what was an incredible defensive effort. “I think that’s one of the really nice things of being a mature, older team,” Kraske said. “We’re not shooting the ball very good right now. We know that. But the kids understand that they can fix that. And they know that if we play good defense, and do all the other things correctly, then we’ll be fine. And tonight was a perfect example of that. We were aggressive on offense, we took the ball to the basket and we shot free throws, and that enabled us to be successful on offense even when we weren’t shooting it as well as we would have liked.” Haley Ohm scored seven points to add to Waid’s 10, while Don and Tori Mazurkiewicz each scored six off the bench for the Ponies. Havre was 13-of-24 from the foul line, while the Pony defense forced CMR into a hefty 25 turnovers. The win over CMR was a big one because it’s a Class AA program, and because it showed just how well the Blue Ponies can defend, which will go a long way toward their ultimate goals this season. But it was also important because Havre needed a bounce-back victory after a 47-37 loss in Malta Friday night. Against the M-Ettes, a perennial Class B power, Havre came out quickly, as did Malta. The game was tight throughout the first half, as the Ponies trailed just 23-20 at halftime. Malta extended the lead to six at the end of the third quarter, then, a couple of key buckets by Sophie Stiles in the final minutes helped the M-Ettes pull away late. “Our kids were disappointed with how they played against Malta,” Kraske said. “And that’s not to take anything away from Malta, they have a nice team, and they did a great job handling our defensive pressure. They handled our fullcourt pressure really well and, once that happened, I felt like we got tired in our half-court defense, and they made shots in the half court. So credit Malta for doing that. They played a very good game.” In the season-opening loss, Peyton Filius scored 10 points and Morgan Mazurkiewicz added nine, while Brandy Lambourne scored seven. All three each made a 3-pointer for the Ponies. And though they were disappointed leaving Malta without a victory, the Ponies showed heart and resolve Saturday night by beating the Rustlers, which is something Havre teams don’t do all that often. The win Saturday night leaves Havre with a 1-1 start to the season, and some much-needed momentum heading into this weekend’s huge home stand with Central A rivals Belgrade and Livingston. “It was nice to see us come back and play the way we did tonight,” Kraske said. “I think that’s the sign of having a mature team, being able to come right back and play as well as we did after being disappointed in Malta. I’m proud of the kids for doing that.” Havre will open Central A play Friday against the Livingston Rangers, and the Ponies also host the Belgrade Panthers Saturday afternoon. Malta 47, Havre 37 Havre 14 6 7 10 – 37 Malta 15 8 10 14 – 47 Havre – Breck Don 2, Brandy Lambourne 7, Morgan Mazurkiewicz 9, Lacey Waid 6, Peyton Filius 10, Tori Mazurkiewicz 1, Haley Ohm 2. Totals: 11 12-18. Malta – Marley Monoukian 4, Sophia Stiles 11, Hailey Nicholson 16, Mercedes Stiles 6, Kelsey Kuhn 2, Rebecca Smith 2, Darby Schye 6. Totals: 18 9-19. Total fouls: Havre 16, Malta 17. 3-pointers: Lambourne, M. Mazurkiewicz, Filius, S. Stiles, M. Stiles. Havre 39, CMR 23 CMR 6 2 8 7 – 23 Havre 6 10 8 15 – 39 CMR – Kaydee Parsons 1-3 1-2 3, Ashlee Atchison 1-3 1-2 3, Kirsten Kaste 0-2 1-2 1, Sammy Pietrykowski 1-4 1-3 3, Taylor Edwards 1-2 0-0 2, Kylie Otis 1-3 2-2 4, Maggie Reilly 1-1 0-0 2, Darby Gollaher 1-4 0-3 2, Courtney Schroeder 0-3 1-2 1, Maddy Watkins 0-3 2-2 2. Total 7 9-18. Havre – Breck Don 3-4 0-1 6, Brady Lambourne 1-1 0-0 2, Morgan Mazurkiewicz 1-5 2-5 4, Lacey Waid 2-6 6-10 10, Peyton Filius 2-2 0-2 4, Tori Mazurkiewicz 2-4 2-2 6, Haley Ohm 2-5 3-5 7. Totals: 13 13-25. Total Fouls: CMR 20, Havre 19. Fouled out: none. 3-pointers: none. Havre High head coach Dustin Kraske said. “Our kids were fantastic and did a great job in that game, but offensively, we need our kids to continue to shoot with confidence. We have continued to work on spacing and playing together, and we are hoping that will lead into more offensive efficiency. We aren’t displeased with how we have played offensively, we can just be more efficient with what we are doing.” In two games last weekend, the Ponies scored 37 points in a loss to Malta, and 39 points in a win over CMR. But with the defense playing extremely well already, Malta was held to 47 and CMR was held to a dismal 23. Defense isn’t the issue this weekend either. The Ponies are confident they can continue to pester teams with pressure out of the man and zone. But if the offense get more production, a 2-0 start to conference play should be more than doable. Kraske likes how his team is reading screens well and getting open on offense. He said they are making good runs and cuts, and getting open looks, but the shots just aren’t falling. If the shots do start falling, which they will eventually if not this weekend, soon, then the Ponies will be hard for any team to beat, especially with shooters like Peyton Gillman, Brandy Lambourne, Morgan Mazurkiewicz, Tori Mazurkiewicz amd Breck Don. And mix in Lacey Waid and Haley Ohm with the ability to score inside, and the Ponies should be ready to burst with offensive production. The defense will also have its hands full but should be able to continue to play well. Both the Rangers and Panthers have athletes that can score. The Rangers put up nearly 60 points in a loss, while the Panthers put up 54 in a win. Both teams will look to get rolling in Havre, but it should be difficult. Megan Schoenen is averaging 13 points a game already this season for the Rangers, and gets a lot of help from Meadow Ingram and Mariel Kelly. They are big and physical and will look to get inside. And the Panthers will attack the Ponies with a lot of jump shots and perimeter shots from the likes of Alexis Clingingsmith and Kindall Bethke. “If we play how we are capable on defense, I would say we would be difficult to score against,” Kraske said. “Our hands are active, our feet are great, and our communication is one hiccup that we need to improve. Early in games we communicate well, late in games we communicate well, but in between we need to communicate better. Our kids understand that, and if our kids do that, we will be just fine. We know who the shooters are that we have to look out for, but we will have our hands up and do our best to make them earn everything they get.” As the two-time defending Central A champions, the Ponies are the favorite in both contests this weekend, but won’t be handed any easy wins. It will take two solid games to get any wins this weekend, but if the Ponies get rolling, they will be hard to stop all season long. Tonight’s game between the Ponies and Rangers will tip at 6:30 at the HHS gymnasium. Saturday’s game will pit Havre against Belgrade and it takes place at 3:30 p.m. Havre girls bounce back from loss at Malta by stifling Class AA CMR at home George Ferguson Havre Daily News sports editor email@example.com Havre High head girls basketball coach Dustin Kraske knew coming into the new season that his veteran, quick and athletic Blue Pony team could hang its hat on defense. But in their season-opening game in Malta, the Blue Ponies didn’t quite do that. However, Saturday night, in their home-opener, the Blue Ponies were the defensive team Kraske envisioned, and then some. After a difficult season-opening loss at Malta Friday night, the Ponies shut down the Class AA CMR Rustlers in a 39-23 victory at the HHS gymnasium. Havre’s suffocating defense held the Rustlers to just 21 percent shooting and an 0-of-6 performance from the 3-point-line. At one point, the Ponies had CMR so befuddled on offense that the Rustlers went 16 minutes without a field goal, including the entire second quarter. “I felt like we didn’t play with the kind of defensive energy that we were capable of in Malta,” Kraske 31 March 2014 STATE GIRLS BASKETBALL CHAMPS 2014 CLASS A www.havredailynews.com Tipoff: Pony girls host Rustlers in home debut Daniel Horton Havre Daily News sports writer firstname.lastname@example.org Housing maybe the strongest overall roster in years, the Havre high girls basketball team will finally get the long awaited season underway this weekend. But it won’t be the easiest start to a season, as the Blue Ponies have to open with two very tough nonconference opponents. Tonight, the Central A Blue Ponies will be in Malta to take on the Class B Malta MEttes. And Saturday the Ponies will make their debut at the Havre High gymnasium when they host the Class AA CMR Rustlers of Great Falls. CMR and Havre will tip off at 5 p.m. A year ago, the Ponies started the season with the same two opponents. Malta defeated the Ponies 47-44 and CMR defeated Havre 52-48 in overtime. But the 0-2 start to the season did not hinder the Ponies who would eventually take their season into the State A semifinals. And winning or losing isn’t the most important thing this weekend either, as the Ponies still continue to worry about themselves and gearing up for the conference portion of the schedule. “We aren’t preparing for Malta or CMR,” Havre High head coach Dustin Kraske said. “We are just trying to get better at what we do. The kids have been playing well and had a really good practice this week. The kids are excited for a game finally, and are tired of beating on each other. I am excited to watch them play, and I think they are such a great group that this will be a good weekend for us. Win, lose, whatever, we are just looking to execute our game and get better every time we are on the floor.” The M-Ettes are down, but not out, in the Class B ranks. Under the guidance of the new head coach Nate Hammond, the M-Ettes return key players like Mercedes Stiles, and should push the Ponies like they have so many times over the years. “(Hammond) is a good head coach,” Kraske said. “His teams always play well, and he is always very well-prepared. I would expect Malta to play well, they have good kids and are a great basketball community. But we are preparing for a little bit of everything from Malta.” HHS is not only preparing, but also hoping for a little bit of everything from both Malta and CMR. The Rustlers also have a new head coach, but return Taylor Edwards, a very talented guard who will test the Ponies’ offense and defense. And just like the M-Ettes, the Rustlers should show the Ponies zone and man looks on defense, as well a fast pace and physical play with their offense. But no matter what each opponent throws at Havre, the Ponies should be equipped to handle it and have a counter. Havre is led by a very talented guard group including starters Peyton Filius, Brandy Lambourne, Lacey Waid and Morgan Mazurkiewicz. Add in Haley Ohm’s ability to run the floor from the post position, and the Ponies have the ability to slow down and chip away at a defense, or speed up and run the floor. The defense can also run a very aggressive press, as well settle in and take away the passing lanes and limit shots. No matter what the Ponies see, they should be able to handle it this weekend, and moving forward this season. “We haven’t spent hardly any time talking about Malta or CMR,” Kraske said. “It is my opinion that it is too early in the year to be focusing on the other team. We are spending all of our time trying to figure out who we are, how we play, and how we can play better every day. These should both be good games. It is nice we are playing at home, we are pretty happy about that. Three of our first four games are at home and that is always good for our kids.” The Ponies are in Malta to take on the M-Ettes tonight at and will return home to host the CMR Rustlers at 5 p.m. Saturday. Broncs ■ Continued from page 6 row night. We’re all really excited to get to play Laurel again. They beat us last year so we’re excited to play them again.” “Very pleased with the way we played tonight,” Kraske said. “And this puts us in a unique position. It will almost be a year to the day that we played Laurel in the semifinals and now they get a chance to play them again. “We will have our hands full,” he continued. “Laurel is a very good team. They are well coached and have some really nice players. But our thoughts will be the same going into that game. We just want to come out and play very hard and play well on the defensive end. That’s our goal every time we play.” Havre and Laurel (17-4) will tip off in tonight’s second semifinal at 8 in the Four Seasons Arena. In Thursday’s other opening games, Columbia Falls bested Belgrade 70-29 and Hamilton beat Miles City 46-42. Columbia Falls and Hamilton meet in tonight’s first semifinal at 6:30. Havre 60, Frenchtown 41 Havre 14 21 12 13 — 60 Frenchtown 11 11 6 13 — 41 Havre — Breck Don 0-1 2-2 2, Brandy Lambourne 5-10 1112 21, Dani Wagner 2-4 2-2 6, Morgan Mazurkiewicz 1-4 2-4 4, Naomi Terry 0-1 0-0 0, Lacey Waid 3-4 2-4 8, Peyton Filius 2-9 8-13 12, Tori Mazurkiewicz 1-1 1-2 3, Haley Ohm 2-2 0-0 4. Totals: 16-36 28-39 60. Frenchtown — Emma Pyron 0-1 0-0 0, Haley Cyr 1-3 0-0 2, Vanessa Stavish 4-16 7-12 15, Kayla Blood 2-9 2-3 7, Alli Moe 0-1 0-0 0, Brooke Yarnall 0-3 2-4 2, Krista Hebnes 0-0 1-2 1, Keegan Wickman 1-3 6-6 8, Lacey Hochhalter 3-9 0-0 6, Laci Willett 0-2 0-2 0. Totals: 11-47 18-29 41. Total fouls: HAVRE 21, FRE 29. Fouled out: Blood. 3-point goals: Havre 0-3, FRE 1-8 (Blood). Rebounds: HAVRE 32 (Wagner 8), FRE 31(Stavish 8). Assists: HAVRE 11 (Filius 4), FRE 8 (Blood 3). Turnovers: Havre 17, FRE 18. Big Blue ■ Continued from page 4 and scored the final point for the Ponies. “The community is amazing, and I didn’t know if I expected this much support (this weekend), but it is really awesome. This is a huge goal I can check off my list; it really was a huge goal of all of ours.” Lambourne finished off a spectacular performance at the state tournament by averaging 22 points per game. She also grabbed a game-high seven rebounds against Hamilton, while her teammates came up big in the clutch. Morgan Mazurkiewicz scored nine, while Filius and Tori Mazurkiewicz each added five. Goligoski and Albert each scored 13 for the Broncs, who finished 19-4 on the year. “I thought we were very, very poised tonight,” Kraske said of the Ponies, who ended the dream season with a 17-6 overall record. “It just felt like when we really needed to make a play, or make a big shot we did it, and we did it with confidence. We executed really well in important parts of the game tonight. “And that’s something that really speaks to the hard work and effort this team has put into this for a long time,” Kraske added. “They’ve put in hundreds of hours in the gym. They’ve worked hard individually and together. We have kids who bought into and believed in what we were doing and they all accepted and played their own role and did it all very well. It’s just a really special group, and I’m so happy for them that they get to experience this.” Indeed, Saturday night was a dream come true for the Ponies, a team with five seniors, three three-year starters and a group who has spent years together building for what happened Saturday night. It started with an impressive opening performance against Frenchtown, and continued with Friday night’s defensive gem against Laurel, a game in which Lambourne hit four treys and scored 19 points, while Morgan Mazurkiewicz added 14. But the culmination was Saturday night’s win over Hamilton. It was historic, it was emotional and it was a night that will never be forgotten, a win executed by a team that will never be forgotten. “This is a bittersweet ending because I am leaving Havre High,” Filius said. “But this is the best possible way to end a career.” “I am overjoyed right now, it feels better than I thought it would,” Ohm added. “I didn’t think I would be bawling after, but I am. All I could think (at the end) was that ‘we are going to get this, we are the champs.’ I am just so happy and this is amazing.” Havre Daily News/Daniel Horton Havre senior Lacey Waid drives around a Hamilton defender during Saturday night's Class A state championship game in Great Falls. The Ponies won 52-43. 32 March 2014 STATE GIRLS BASKETBALL CHAMPS 2014 CLASS A www.havredailynews.com