Helena girls take care of Pelham for first area win

By GRAHAM BROOKS / Staff Writer

PELHAM–After falling in the second round of the Jefferson-Shelby Hoops Classic on Jan. 3, the Helena Huskies girls basketball team needed to quickly turn its attention to its next opponent as a road trip to rival Pelham awaited to open area play on Jan. 9.

The Huskies did just that by taking care of the Panthers 51-26 to open area play with a win, as seniors Jordan Jones and Brandis Lang finished in double-figures. Jones finished with 18 points to lead all scorers while Lang chipped in with 10.

Although Helena cruised to a 25-point victory, the first quarter was a bit shaky for the Huskies.

Helena scored just four points in the first quarter behind two made baskets by Brianna Wilson, while Pelham connected on two 3-pointers. Kaylyn Tomlinson and Jamila Wilson each knocked down a shot from beyond the arch as the Panthers had an 8-4 lead after the first eight minutes.

The game then turned quickly as Pelham was held scoreless in the second quarter while the Huskies scored 13 points. Jones accounted for eight of the 13 as Helena took a 17-8 halftime lead.

Helena would outscore Pelham 47-18 in the final three quarters to pick up its first win in region play.

As a team, Helena finished with 15 steals and collected 34 rebounds.

Helena head coach Alan Skinner said a tough schedule to start the year including playing in several competitive tournaments prepared his team for the challenge to open area play.

“It’s part of what our mantra has been somewhat because I knew that through the tournament season, and through the early part of the season we play a tough schedule,” Skinner said. “I just kept telling them ‘hey we’re going to use these lessons and win the ones that matter’ and the area games are the ones that matter. The first half was rocky but the second half we did a better job with the ball and did a better job capitalizing off turnovers and taking care of the ball on our end.”

Emma McKinney would go on to lead Pelham with 10 points in the loss.

Photos available at Shelbycountyphotos.com.