Late comeback falls short for Helena against McAdory

Published 5:05 pm Wednesday, December 12, 2018

By GRAHAM BROOKS / Staff Writer

HELENA – Trailing by 11 entering the fourth quarter, it seemed as though Helena would have a tough time clawing its way back into the game against McAdory, but the Huskies did just that as a potential game-winning 3-pointer came up too strong as the Yellow Jackets narrowly escaped with a 58-56 win on Monday, Dec. 10.

Led by Daunte Cave’s 25 points, who finished as the game’s top scorer, along with Caden Pierce’s 15 points including nine in the fourth quarter, Helena nearly pulled off a double-digit comeback against a very athletic McAdory team.

The Huskies kept the game close in the first quarter as the Yellow Jackets held just a one-point lead at 16-15.

The second quarter belonged to McAdory as the Yellow Jackets outscored Helena 17-9 thanks to Sam Youngblood’s seven points in the quarter to take a 33-24 halftime lead.

Two big factors in the game was McAdory’s second and third chance opportunities on offense as the Yellow Jackets collected multiple offensive rebounds against Helena. In addition, one of Helena’s leaders and big man Nate Andrews was hindered by foul trouble all game as he fouled out with 7:44 to go in the fourth quarter.

“Those guys are so athletic they just killed us on the boards with just second and third shots,” Helena head coach Billy Grant said. “That’s something we can work on, boxing out.”

Grant also said Andrews’ foul trouble was a tough thing to overcome in the end.

“These guys have been fighting all year and we’ve got so much inexperience,” Grant said. “we’ve got three guys that played significant minutes last year, but we’ve got an entirely new crew and they’ve got fight. These last few games have been pretty tough but they’re not quitting and when Nate is sitting on the bench as much as he did it was just tough without him in the ballgame. He brings so much experience to the team and it just hurt us a lot.”

Despite all this, the fourth quarter belonged to Helena as the Huskies outscored McAdory 19-10 in the period with Pierce hitting two clutch 3-pointers down the stretch.

Both teams struggled from the free throw line as Helena shot just 21-of-35 as a team while McAdory converted 15-of 27 attempts.

Up 57-56 with 11.3 seconds left, McAdory converted on 1-of-2 free throws to go up 58-56 but left the door open for Helena to tie or win the game.

Helena opted to go for the win as a 3-point shot by Pierce at the top of the arc went off the backboard at the buzzer as McAdory escaped with the narrow win.

After traveling to Chilton County on Thursday, Dec. 13, Helena will compete in tournaments in Childersburg and Springville to close out 2018.