Helena edges Oak Mountain 44-40

By GRAHAM BROOKS / Staff Writer

NORTH SHELBY–In a game where points were hard to come by and strong defensive play was seen on both ends of the court, Helena edged Oak Mountain 44-40 after using a few key turnovers and late free throws to defeat the 7A Eagles on the road on Tuesday, Dec. 6.

Helena started the game fast, turning defense into offense to build a lead that they would need later in the game.

Helena stole the ball multiple times in the first quarter that resulted in easy points at the other end.

Helena’s Cirrahn McFarland had two easy layups and collectively the Huskies jumped out to a 15-6 lead at the end of the first quarter.

Helena continued to limit Oak Mountain on the offensive end of the floor in the second quarter and all 10 of Helena’s points came from senior Jon Brown in the quarter. Brown finished as the game’s leading scorer with 20 points.

“Oak Mountain does such a great job defensively and you have to earn everything,” Helena head coach Chris Laatsch said. “Fortunately we were able to turn them over in the first half and get some easy baskets which gave us a little bit of a cushion. In the second half, when we weren’t able to turn them over, we had a hard time scoring but I thought they did too but I thought we did a good job of guarding in the half court.”

Leading 25-14 heading into the third quarter, Oak Mountain slowly started to climb back in the game. As a team the Eagles made three three-pointers in the quarter and made a number of free throws to cut the Huskies lead to 34-29 heading to the final quarter.

The biggest excitement of the game came in the final eight minutes as the Eagles began the quarter getting four points from Carson Bobo to cut Helena’s lead to 34-33.

With one minute left in the game, Helena held a 39-38 lead with the ball as the Huskies broke the Eagles press and found Colton Hood wide open for an easy layup.

With just 10 seconds left in the game, Helena led 43-40 as Brown was at the free throw line needing to make one to ice the game. Brown sunk the free throw as Helena held on to win 44-40.

“Every possession was so magnified but I’m really proud because we have such a young team and they showed a lot of poise and resiliency,” Laatsch said. “When Oak Mountain did cut it to 1, they didn’t flinch and they didn’t look worried or scared and stayed calm the entire way.”

With the win, Helena improved to 5-3 on the season.