Turnovers sink Lady Huskies in Sweet Sixteen

By GRAHAM BROOKS / Staff Writer

MONTGOMERY–After jumping out to a 23-22 halftime lead, the Lady Huskies seemed poised for a possible upset against the Selma Lady Saints in the girls 6A Regional Semifinal round on Feb. 17, but the turnovers piled up in the second half and Selma took advantage to defeat Helena 58-40.

Helena jumped out to 16-9 lead in the first quarter and was successful on the offensive end of the floor but as the game wore on, Selma began to make adjustments.

“We came out a little sluggish and took too many long jumpers and at halftime we went in and discussed some things,” Selma head coach Anthony Harris said. “It wasn’t even about what we were running but just play good basketball and continue to play that way. Defensively I know when we do some pressing it’s good and that’s what happened in the second half, we stole a couple and layed it up.”

Helena led Selma 23-22 at halftime and committed just six turnovers while shooting 39 percent from the field. Jordan Jones led Helena with 10 points at the break.

The second half was a much different story as the Lady Saints opened the third quarter on a 7-0 run and outscored Helena 23-7 to take a 45-30 lead heading into the final quarter.

The scoring combination of Selma’s Kynadra Lewis and Jacquetta Dailey became too much to handle for Helena as both players finished with 22 and 19 points, respectively.

Helena committed a total of 17 turnovers in the second half and Selma attempted a total of 61 shots compared to 37 for the Lady Huskies and the Lady Saints pulled away for the 58-40 victory.

“The first and second half were basically reciprocals to one another,” Helena head coach Alan Skinner said after the game. “The first half we took good care of the ball and limited their transition points and executed offense. Second half we turned the ball over, did not run offense, allowed them to get in transition a lot more and we knew going in, they were long and athletic and had a deep bench. They were as advertised and I knew what we were getting into.”

Despite a disappointing second half, Skinner was still proud of his team and the way they competed in their first season in the 6A classification.

“Our mantra so far in the postseason is just ‘working,’” Skinner said. “I told them when we get to Montgomery, everybody is one game at a time and everybody is game planning for just the next opponent and anything can happen. Getting here it didn’t work out the way we wanted it to obviously, but in terms of our program I really feel like I’ve got a group of kids that want to strive for this to be the norm. For people to be surprised when we don’t make it to at least a regional.”

Helena finished the season with a record of 13-17. Jones led Helena with 14 points.