Spartans use second quarter run to defeat Helena

By GRAHAM BROOKS / Staff Writer

HELENA–The Helena Huskies boys basketball team faced a tough challenge on Nov. 15, in the season home opener facing the Mountain Brook Spartans and came up short after the Spartans used a large second quarter run to pull away to win 61-50.

The opening quarter was low scoring for both teams but Mountain Brook took the momentum after the Spartans defense got a steal and Trendon Watford threw down a dunk at the buzzer to give Mountain Brook a 12-7 lead at the end of the first quarter.

The second quarter was an offensive showcase by the Spartans as Mountain Brook turned defense into offense after creating numerous turnovers off a relentless press defense.

Mountain Brook went on a 29-12 run in the second quarter as Spartans guard Sean Elmore scored 12 points in the quarter and Britton Johnson banked a three-point shot off the side of the backboard that went in at the buzzer to extend Mountain Brook’s lead to 41-19 at halftime.

“They do such a great job of pressing off of their makes (made shots) so when we can limit their scores they don’t get to press as much,” said Helena head coach Chris Laatsch. “The more they press the more they speed us up and that run that they made in the second quarter they were scoring a lot, pressing a lot, sped us up a lot and we were making poor decisions on the other end so the deficit got great. I thought the second half we defended better and didn’t turn it over as much. The fact is they’re so good in their press.”

In the third quarter, Helena played cleaner and limited turnovers to cut the Spartans lead to 12 heading into the final quarter.

In the end, the large second quarter deficit was too much to overcome for Helena as Mountain Brook got the 11-point victory.

Both Helena and Mountain Brook had three players each score double-digits. Elmore led all scorers with 19 points while Watford added 15 points and Johnson finished with 12 points for the Spartans.

Dionte Tolbert led Helena with 14 points in the game and Justin Stuckey and Jon Brown both finished with 13 points.