Helena routs Vestavia 67-44

By GRAHAM BROOKS / Staff Writer

HELENA–The Helena Huskies boys basketball team had a chance for redemption on Friday, Dec. 16 against the Vestavia Rebels in the teams’ second matchup of the season, and the Huskies made the most of the opportunity, routing the Rebels 67-44 at home.

Vestavia defeated Helena 49-47 in a tight contest on Nov. 17 in the team’s first meeting of year, but the second go-around was a different story.

Up 30-22 at the half, Helena used a 37-22 run in the second half to extend their lead while also limiting the Rebels to only two made 3-pointers in the final two quarters. Helena gave up five 3-pointers in the first half.

Helena head coach Christ Laatsch said the majority of the Huskies success would rely on defending the 3-point line.

“They shot 50 percent from the 3-point line the last time we played so we knew coming in we had to do a better job tonight,” Laatsch said. “I thought they kind of got our zone out of whack a couple of times in the first half because of bad close outs and things like that. In the second half we really made an effort to guard the arch more and try to be more on balance and be able to contain those shooters because they have a ton of those shooters they can put on the floor at the same time.”

Helena doubled up Vestavia in the third quarter, outscoring the Rebels 22-11 in large part to the success of Jon Brown, Dionte Tolbert and Justin Stuckey on the offensive end of the floor.

Brown led the Huskies in scoring with 19 points, Tolbert finished with 12 and Stuckey had 13 points in the game.

Helena also got big 3-point baskets from Nate Andrews and Richard Fitts and as a team, the Huskies made eight 3-pointers in the game.

“It’s definitely one we wanted to get back,” Laatsch said of the rematch. “We didn’t feel like we played as well as we wanted to over there, although they had a lot to do with it because they defended so well. We had a lot of guys step up and make big shots. Richard Fitts hitting the three, Nate Andrews hitting the three and then our three guys Jon Brown, Justin Stuckey and Dionte Tolbert just did an unbelievable job setting people up, scoring when it was their time, not forcing anything and letting the game come to them. I thought those three guys were great and then everybody else did their job and the result is a very nice win over a really good team.”

The one bright spot for Vestavia was Mac Smith, who led the Rebels with 19 points, hitting five 3-pointers.

With the win, Helena moved to 8-3 on the year and have won five games in a row.