Lady Huskies win overtime thriller to finish perfect in area play

By GRAHAM BROOKS / Staff Writer

HELENA–With less than one minute to play in regulation, the likelihood of Helena finishing 4-0 in area play became slimmer and slimmer with each tick off the clock, but in the end, the Lady Huskies dug deep and pulled out an incredible 64-55 overtime win against Chelsea on Friday, Jan. 27.

Helena came into the game with a 3-0 record in area play and needed a win over the Lady Hornets to secure the No. 1 seed in the Class 6A Area 8 tournament.

At one point in the third quarter, Helena led Chelsea 35-27 and seemed to be in control, but Chelsea’s Michaella Edwards had a monster night scoring to keep the Lady Hornets in the game.

Edwards had 10 of Chelsea’s 15 points in the third quarter and finished as the game’s leading scorer with 36 points.

Chelsea led Helena 40-39 heading into the final quarter when the game turned into an emotional rollercoaster.

With one minute remaining in regulation, Helena led Chelsea 52-50, but the Lady Hornets responded with four straight points to regain the lead 54-52 with 26.9 seconds left.

After both teams traded a made free throw, the score stood at 55-53 in favor of Chelsea.

Chelsea’s Allie Miller had one more free throw attempt with 8.3 seconds left but missed off the back iron which gave Helena one last opportunity.

Off the miss, Helena’s Jordan Jones raced up the floor and drove to the basket where she drew a foul with 2.5 seconds left. Down 55-53, Jones needed to make both free throws to send the game to overtime and she did just that.

Helena head coach Allen Skinner described the final sequence that led to the Lady Huskies tying the game to send it to overtime.

“I know there’s a couple of girls that if they get to the line, they’re about automatic,” Skinner said. “So that last possession, I almost called a timeout but I had a feeling that if they missed it, and we got the rebound that maybe we would have a chance if Jordan got the rebound. I let her go and when she got down the floor and went up I knew that as aggressively as they’ve been contesting shots that we were going to get to the line. She went up there and knocked them down because she’s just a big time player.”

Tied at 55 and heading to overtime, the overtime period belonged to the Lady Huskies who dominated from the start.

Helena held Chelsea scoreless in overtime and the Lady Huskies went on a 9-0 run to close out the game and finish as the Class 6A Area 8 regular season champions winning 64-55. Jones finished with 30 points to lead Helena.

“We’ve been in several games like that this year where it’s gone into overtime and we’ve ended up on the losing end of them,” Skinner said. “To come out and put together the overtime period that we needed to win to me really does more to balance out how poorly we played in the rest of the games.”

With the win, Helena is now guaranteed a spot in the Sub-Regional round and will host the area tournament the week of Feb. 6.

The Lady Hornets finished 2-2 in area play and will be the No. 2 seed in the area tournament.