Second half run key in Helena’s win over Mortimer Jordan

Published 5:40 pm Friday, January 4, 2019

By GRAHAM BROOKS / Staff Writer

HELENA – After coming away as the Springville Tournament champions to close out 2018, the Helena Huskies boys basketball team wanted to keep that same momentum going in its first game after the new year against Mortimer Jordan on Thursday, Jan 3.

They did just that, using a late game run and limiting opportunities for a good shooting Blue Devils team to pull away for a solid 44-32 win in the final game before the start of area play.

It was a back-and-forth contest for most of the first half as Helena saw the majority of its offensive output come from Caden Pierce, who accounted for 12 of Helena’s 20 first half points.

For Mortimer Jordan, the Blue Devils are most efficient when scoring beyond the 3-point arc and they got a big bucket seconds before the first half ended.

Trailing 20-13, the Blue Devils forced Helena into a turnover and ran a set play to get sharp shooter Nolan Dean open, and with just seconds left, he buried a deep 3-pointer to cut the Huskies lead to 20-16 at halftime.

After the game, Helena head coach Billy Grant said his team has been working on doing a better job of closing out quarters.

“We struggled to score a little bit but right there at the end of the half we’ve been losing and we’ve been losing the end of quarters,” Grant said. “We’ve just been preaching about trying to hang on because we were up seven and then we get it stolen and they cut it to four where we could’ve been up seven, nine or 10.”

In the second half, the Huskies did a much better job of closing out the quarters.

With two minutes to go in the third quarter, Helena clung to a slim 24-23 lead but proceeded to go on a 10-0 run that included two big 3-pointers from Pierce, who finished as the game’s leading scorer with 19 points.

Helena took a 34-23 lead until Mortimer Jordan’s Josh Burns finally ended the run with 6:26 to go in the game.

The Blue Devils attempted to make their way back in the game, but Helena’s defense continued to force Mortimer Jordan into deep shots that wouldn’t fall as Helena closed out the game on a 20-9 run to win 44-32.

In all, Mortimer Jordan made just five 3-pointers as a team as Grant said perimeter defense was going to be a focus.

“We had to take Jonah Hyde out who plays our five because they’re so perimeter oriented that we had to try and get some quicker guys out there to push their three point shooters out farther,” Grant said. “When we face a team that’s got three point shooters, we try and push those guys so they put in on the floor.”

Daunte Cave also finished in double figures for Helena with 10 points as Helena improved its record to 12-5 on the season.

The week of Jan. 7, Helena will host Calera on Jan. 8, followed by Pelham on Jan. 11 in two big area games.

To view or purchase photos, visit