Helena defeats Pelham to complete regular season sweep

Published 12:31 am Wednesday, January 23, 2019

By GRAHAM BROOKS / Staff Writer

PELHAM – After two area games that saw Helena fall by double digits to both Chelsea and Calera the week of Jan. 14, the Huskies got back on track with a much-needed 58-49 win over rival Pelham on Tuesday, Jan. 22 to complete the regular season sweep of the Panthers.

Against Pelham, the Huskies were led by Caden Pierce and Nate Andrews who both finished in double figures. Pierce scored a team high 20 points while Andrews finished with 17 points, respectively.

The latest win on Jan. 22 was the fifth straight win for Helena in the series against rival Pelham.

In the game, Helena built an 18-12 first quarter lead highlighted by a pair of 3-pointers from Pierce and five points from Andrews. The Huskies’ steadily built upon the strong start and extended its lead to 35-23 at halftime.

Helena head coach Billy Grant said strong shooting and drawing fouls helped build the double digit first half lead.

“We shot the ball well and defended well and we got them in foul trouble,” Grant said. “They had to go to the bench and we let them get away with the second half without challenging their guys. They didn’t have anyone foul out so that means we weren’t challenging them and made it a closer ball game when it shouldn’t of been. But, they played well and Pelham fought back.”

For Pelham, senior Chris Brown stepped up to have a great game finishing as the game’s leading scorer with 24 points.

Pelham’s Kendan Maddox also eclipsed double figures with 10 points but they had a tough time incorporating Blake Floyd into the offense, who was scoreless on the night despite scoring 15 points against Helena on Jan. 11.

In the end, Helena never allowed Pelham to go on a run to close the gap as they came away with the nine-point win.

Grant said it wasn’t the prettiest win, but anytime you can get a road win is a positive thing when playing in such a tough area.

“It was big for us to come on the road… and anytime you win a game on the road it’s tough, but we hung in there,” Grant said. “We didn’t play a great game but I thought we had control. We got in foul trouble and didn’t take care of the ball and let them back in it but we hung in and got the win.”

Tuesday, Jan. 22 was a big night as far as the Class 6A Area 8 standings were concerned.

With the win, Helena improved to 3-2 in area play and now sit in second place. The other game in the county featured Chelsea and Calera, which resulted in a narrow 61-60 win for the Hornets moving them to first place with a 4-1 area record.

Calera sits in third place with a 2-3 record followed by Pelham with a 1-4 record.

This now sets up an important final regular season area game between Helena and Chelsea on Friday, Jan. 25 to determine the host of the area tournament.

A Chelsea win would secure the Hornets their first regular season area championship and a right to host the area tournament since 1986, while a Helena win would result in a tie-breaker scenario.

The tie-breaker scenario is applied by using Helena’s and Chelsea’s winning percentage against the other seeded area opponents. Should the winning percentage be the same for both teams, the tie-breaker to establish who hosts the area tournament will be determined by the flip of a coin.