Helena completes regular season sweep of Chelsea

By GRAHAM BROOKS / Staff Writer

HELENA–After competing in a down-to-the-wire game just 10 days prior, Helena and Chelsea met again on Friday, Jan. 27, and this time the Huskies took care of the Hornets with relative ease winning 48-33 on their home floor.

Helena came into the contest with a record of 1-2 in Class 6A Area 8 play while Chelsea owned a record of 0-3. Both teams were swept by No. 1 Pelham during the regular season but the contest on Jan. 27 still featured a top 10 matchup.

Helena and Chelsea were already set to meet in the area tournament the week of Feb. 6 and Huskies head coach Chris Laatsch said the game was more about going out and getting a win and less about seeding.

“I think tonight we thought of it as No. 4 in the state against No. 10 in the state,” Laatsch said. “We talked about a top 10 matchup at home and let’s protect our court and and less about the area tournament. I think since we weren’t playing for seeding or anything I think tonight it was more of a top 10 matchup and let’s go get it.”

Leading 23-16 at halftime, Helena put together an impressive third quarter that included numerous hustle plays that led to extra possessions. The Huskies outscored Chelsea 18-7 in the quarter to extend their lead to 41-23.

Laatsch felt like his team was well rested which helped lead to getting the majority of loose balls.

“When you get to this point in the season, guys start getting a little leg weary and mental weary as well,” Laatsch said. “We’ve tried really hard to stay off their legs a little bit and we were fortunate to only have one game this week. I felt like our kids were a little fresher and I felt they had some more energy to make some of those hustle plays. They played hard and came up with loose balls and hustled back and ran down plays. Those kind of plays lead to extra possessions which help you.”

Helena’s Jon Brown had an impressive game to lead all scorers finishing with 23 points.

Laatsch continues to be impressed with Brown’s senior leadership.

“He’s tremendous. That’s really what he’s been for us the last two-thirds of the year it’s just been whatever we need,” Laatsch said. “If we need a defensive play, if we need a loose ball, a rebound, a transition play or if we need to be calmed down or if he needs to take control of the locker room or the bench he just does whatever we need.”

The Hornets were led by Joseph Lanzi who finished with 15 points in the game but down 18 in the final quarter, Chelsea couldn’t make up the deficit as Helena cruised to a 48-33 win.