Huskies open season with win over Shelby County

By GRAHAM BROOKS / Staff Writer

COLUMBIANA–The Helena Huskies boys basketball team saw eight different players score on offense and defensively held Shelby County to under 50 points in the game to defeat the Wildcats 63-41 on Thursday, Nov. 10, to open the 2016-17 basketball season.

In the first game of the season, the Huskies had a much different look compared to a year ago. Helena lost nine players from the 2015-16 team but retained leading scorer Jon Brown, who showed that he would once again be a large part of the Huskies success as he finished with 24 points to lead all scorers.

“I thought it was Jon’s most complete basketball game that he’s played since he’s played for me in three years,” said Helena head coach Chris Laatsch. “I thought he distributed the ball well, he handled it well, he rebounded it well and being a veteran player got us into the things that we needed to do. He calmed us down when we needed to be calm, pushed us when we needed to be pushed and I thought it was his complete game and I’m real proud of him.”

Helena started fast after opening the game on an 8-2 run that included two dunks from Brown and Justin Stuckey. The Huskies managed to score 28 points in the first half but Shelby County still hung around, trailing 28-20 at the half.

In the second half, Helena stayed feisty on the defensive end and forced the Wildcats to make mistakes in which the Huskies capitalized on.

“You know, we lost nine off of last year’s team so we’ve got a lot of young kids stepping up and having to play,” said Laatsch. “I thought we kind of pressed a little bit and tried to make too much happen in the first half and I thought the second half we kind of settled down and ran our things defensively and offensively and executed on both ends of the floor very well.”

In addition to Brown’s 24 points, Stuckey added 10 points while both Colton Hood and Nate Andrews each scored 9 points in the victory.

Nathan Bates led Shelby County with 9 points in the loss.

With the win, Helena moved to 1-0 on the season and will face Mountain Brook in the first home game of the season on Tuesday, Nov. 15.