HAVRE -- Last season the Havre boys basketball team was one of the highest-scoring in all of Class A, but the Blue Ponies fell short of a State A tournament appearance after falling in Saturday morning loser-out action in the Eastern A divisional tournament.
That 53-41 loss to Laurel didn’t sit well with the team, according to senior Josh Warp. After being one spot away last year, Havre thinks it has the pieces to return to the State A tournament for the first time since 2016.
"This year, we've got a little more experience and kids that are just hungry, ready to compete and just want to win," Warp said. "Our practices are pretty competitive. You can feel it in there. So we're looking to make that extra weekend."
Speaking of experience and hunger, all-state senior Kellen Detrick returns for the Ponies. Detrick will have plenty of football in his future after recently signing to play for Montana in college, but he wants to maximize his last run on the hardwood.
"This is my last time. I got one more time in this sport that I've loved since I've been growing up, the first sport that was actually taught to me," Detrick said. "And I'm just excited, especially in this horrible time we're living in right now. To have the opportunity to play a sport, to compete, I'm very excited."
Detrick said the sky is the limit with this group. With shooters and athletes up and down the roster, Havre will have no problem scoring points. The Blue Ponies frequently put up 70 points last year.
But head coach Walynn Burgess said the Blue Ponies can’t just bank on a high-octane offense, because other Eastern A teams like Laurel, Billings Central and Glendive bring back their core talents too.
"We're going to try and crank it up as much as we can, but our biggest change this year is we got to get it on the defensive end," he said. "It's kind of been a mentality since Day 1. It's our defense. It's got to win us games this year."
Havre will open the season at home against Lewistown on Jan. 2.