HAVRE — While some Class A basketball teams have already started their 2019-20 seasons, the defending girls champions have been waiting patiently to defend their crown.
After winning back-to-back state championships and returning Montana Lady Griz signee Kyndall Keller, the Havre Blue Ponies could be loaded for another run. But they don’t want to get ahead of themselves.
"I think we've all been thinking about it. We want to and so getting that third one would be pretty sweet," Keller said. "But we know we have quite a bit of hard work before we get to February and March, so it'll be exciting to see how it all turns out."
With three state titles in the 2010s, head coach Dustin Kraske’s only focus is forward. He’s bringing back eight girls that played solid minutes last year, and getting younger players in the rotation is part of what keeps this train rolling.
"They've done a really nice job the last couple of years playing together. ... I'm hoping to see that continue," Kraske said. "Learning our new roles has been kind of fun to try to figure out. But they get along well, they play well together. I think that that could be their biggest strength. They play awful hard, too, so we're pretty fortunate."
These current seniors were sophomores during that first championship, so they’ve seen first-hand what it takes to get the next group ready.
"Working together, having chemistry, knowing everybody and just working hard together because everybody wants to be good," senior Katie Wirtzberger said. "Every day is good to be a Blue Pony."
"I think every year when you lose your seniors, you lose a little something," Keller added. "But we have some younger girls who have done a great job, even older girls, just filling that spot and being ready to go."
The Havre girls open the season against Laurel at home on Friday.