Helena stretches win streak to nine after rout of Thompson

By GRAHAM BROOKS / Staff Writer

ALABASTER–Since losing to Shades Valley in the championship game of the Jefferson-Shelby Hoops Classic on Jan. 6, The Helena Huskies boys basketball team has reeled off eight straight wins and on Tuesday, Jan. 30, the Huskies were going for their ninth win in a row on the road against Thompson.

The Huskies continue to knock down shots from beyond the arc as Helena finished the game with nine 3-pointers as a team to rout the Warriors 68-36 to improve to 27-2 on the season.

Austin Laatsch continues to develop as a sharp-shooter and against the Warriors, Laatsch came off the bench to finish as the leading scorer with 16 points for the Huskies. Twelve of those 16 points came from behind the 3-point line. This was the second straight game Laatsch finished as Helena’s leading scorer.

Laatsch, Justin Stuckey and Dionte Tolbert all finished in double-figures as Stuckey had 14 points and Tolbert added 10 points, respectively.

Helena head coach Chris Laatsch said he feels like his team is finally starting to get out of a slump when it comes to 3-point shooting.

“We shot it well really early in the season and we had a lot of nights where we had double-figure threes as a team and we’ve been hoping that would come back,” Chris Laatsch said. “I’m hoping that it has because for the last two games we’ve done that. I think that’s a characteristic of our team and I just think we’ve kind of been in a slump and I hope we’re getting out of that because it’s a big advantage.”

Thompson hung close for the first few minutes of the game but after Helena hit four 3-pointers in the first eight minutes, the Warriors could never dig themselves out of a 20-9 hole after the first quarter.

Helena’s defense limited Thompson to single-digits in scoring in all but the third quarter, when the Warriors had 13 points.

Paris Whatley was the lone Warrior to finish in double-figures with 11 points and Helena kept Thompson guard and sharp-shooter Zach Littleton in check by limiting him to just three points on the night.

Chris Laatsch praised the way his team guarded the perimeter in the win.

“We know there’s a couple of people we’ve got to take away and they’ve got some really good shooters,” Chris Laatsch said. “I was disappointed in the amount of free throws we gave up but I was pleased with how we guarded the perimeter for sure.”

In all, Helena had nine players total that recorded at least a point in the game against Thompson.

Next up, Helena will travel to take on Oak Mountain on Friday, Feb. 2 in the final regular season game before the area tournament.