Helena wins area championship behind big second quarter run

By GRAHAM BROOKS / Staff Writer

HELENA–The night of Friday, Feb. 9, had a lot on the line for the Helena Huskies and Pelham Panthers girls basketball teams as both fought to win the Class 6A Area 8 crown.

Using a huge second quarter run, Helena pulled ahead for good and beat Pelham for the second time in three tries this season to win the area championship 45-36.

The senior duo of Brandis Lang and Jordan Jones carried the Huskies as they combined for 26 of Helena’s 45 points. Lang led all scorers with 15 points as Jones finished in double-figures with 11 points.

Helena got the win despite missing key post player Brianna Wilson who was home sick with the flu. This forced the Huskies to pay special attention to Pelham’s Jamila Wilson. Wilson still finished with 11 points but it wasn’t enough for a Panthers victory.

“Jamila Wilson, this is the third year I’ve had to play her and she’s a freaking competitor,” Helena head coach Alan Skinner said. “She gets after it and with all the youth and stuff that they have and we have, it really came down to how kids like Jamila Wilson, Jordan Jones and Brandis Lang played. Seniors Jordan and Brandis carried us and Jamila carried them.”

Pelham came out hot to start the game as Helena had trouble scoring. Pelham led 13-5 after the first eight minutes but things then changed quickly.

Helena held Pelham scoreless in the second quarter as the Huskies dropped 17 points in the quarter behind Jones’ nine points to take a 22-13 lead that they never relinquished.

“Really it was feeling out what we were doing versus what they were doing,” Skinner said of the second quarter run. “We knew we were going to have to play a lot of zone and our post player Bri is at home with the flu. We found out today and she was inconsolable so we went back to our 1-3-1 and went into our press. We ran that press a lot this year and we kind of knew how they were going to attack it. From there, it was just get out there and get after it.”

Helena had 20 steals in the game and forced 17 turnovers to hassle Pelham offensively.

Both teams now advance to the 6A Sub-Regional round where they will try and continue their seasons.