Helena defeats Cornerstone to remain unbeaten

By GRAHAM BROOKS / Staff Writer

HELENA–The Helena Huskies boys basketball team is off to a fast start in the 2017-18 season and the momentum continued on Thursday, Nov. 30, as the Huskies defeated Cornerstone School 65-33 to move to 6-0 on the season.

It’s been a big week for the Huskies. Helena is a week removed from taking home the first-place trophy at the Sneaky Pete’s Classic and was also rewarded with a No. 6 ranking in the first Alabama Sports Writers Association basketball rankings of the season for the 6A classification.

Helena proved they were worthy of the high ranking against Cornerstone as 10 of 12 varsity players recorded points in the 32-point win.

The Huskies started the game a little sluggish as the first basket didn’t come until the 4:40 mark of the first quarter on a Justin Stuckey layup.

Helena led just 9-5 at the end of the first quarter but after applying backcourt pressure, the Huskies went on a tear in the second quarter outscoring the Eagles 19-3 to take a 28-8 halftime lead.

“I thought their defensive pressure in the first quarter took us out of the things we wanted to do,” Helena head coach Chris Laatsch said. “I thought they turned us over and kept us off balance. Then in the second quarter we knew we needed to pick up our intensity, our effort and try to start creating some turnovers to try to get some easy baskets because we were having a hard time scoring on them in the half court. Our guys did turn them over some and got some easy baskets in transition and I thought that kind of got us going.”

Stuckey led all scorers with 12 points, while Matthew Hobick added 10 and Devin Ervin and Parker King each added eight points for the Huskies.

Helena’s defense kept up the relentless effort in the second half to outscore the Eagles 37-25 on its way to a commanding win.

When asked if he felt like his team would get complacent after winning the Sneaky Pete’s Classic, Laatsch said his guys have a bigger picture in mind.

“We talked about the first practice when we got back from Thanksgiving asking a bunch of them if they were satisfied?” Laatsch said. “Was their goal to win the Sneaky Pete’s or was their goal bigger? They all agreed it was bigger. So, then we’ve got to hold each other accountable to challenge ourselves each day at practice and at every game. These guys are hungry and they’re on a mission and determined.”

Prior to the game, a special presentation was held as Laatsch was presented with a commemorative basketball and plaque honoring his 350th win of his career.