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Returning talent and pressure defense set up Havre girls for another title run

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Posted at 10:09 PM, Dec 07, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-08 00:20:41-05

HAVRE — Offense wins games but defense wins championships. This has been evident in Havre’s recent winning history with the Blue Pony girls program taking great pride in playing pressure man-to-man defense.

Winning three of the last four Class A state titles, the team is back for more as the defending state champs bringing their brand of hard-nosed defensive basketball back to the hardwood for this season.

“Our kids want to do that and when they want to do that, it’s an easier thing I think,” head coach Dustin Kraske said. “We’ve tried to preach in order to be successful, we have to be able to defend.”

The team has no shortage of talent returning with North Star transfer Jade Wendland accompanying upperclassmen all-conference players like Sadie Filius, Yelena Miller and Avery Carlson. However, after a tough win against Laurel to start the season last Friday night at home where they won 50-47, Kraske is still trying to figure out how the team will get back to the title game.

“I think it’s just going to take a little time to figure out where the pieces go to make everything work. You got to get girls in the right spots on the bus before you take off so we’re just figuring out what that is,” he said.

“Just to get better and work as a team and click as a group because we’re all just new so we’re all just trying to be together,” senior Yelena Miller added.

The icing on top of the cake is that no matter the roster changes year to year, the Havre community is there every step of the way for the Blue Ponies. Last Friday night, the MSU-Northern gym was a packed house and as the defending state champs, they deserve all the love.

Their next game is Dec. 11 on the road against Billings Central in a rematch of the state championship game. Tip-off is scheduled for 3:30.