Helena goes 3-0 to take home Catfish Classic tourney title
By GRAHAM BROOKS / Staff Writer
CHILDERSBURG – The Helena Huskies varsity boys basketball team had a successful three-day run in Childersburg that included wins over Pleasant Grove, Winterboro and Childersburg as the Huskies took home the first place trophy in the 2019 Catfish Classic.
In the pre-Christmas tournament, Helena senior guards Caden Pierce and Daunte Cave were both named to the All-Tournament team as Pierce averaged 25.3 points and Cave averaged 16.3 points in three games.
Below is a recap from each game of the tournament as the Huskies went 3-0 in three days to take first place:
Game 1. Helena 74 Pleasant Grove 55
Helena used a strong second quarter and both Pierce and Cave each finished in double figures scoring to propel the Huskies to an easy 74-55 opening round win over Pleasant Grove on Dec. 18.
Pierce finished as the game’s leading scorer with 21 points and Cave added 19 points as the pair accounted for 40 of Helena’s 74 points in the game.
The Huskies led just 13-11 after the first quarter, but began to pull away in the second quarter by outscoring Pleasant Grove 21-10.
Helena got two big 3-point baskets from Brody Moss in the second quarter and Pierce added five points as the Huskies took a 34-21 lead into halftime.
In the second half, Helena scored 20 points in both the third and fourth quarters, while holding Pleasant Grove to 34 points in the second half.
Pierce hit three 3-pointers and scored 16 of his 21 points in the final two quarters. The Huskies also received some scoring help from Mason Fitts who scored all five of his points in the fourth quarter.
Game 2. Helena 59 Winterboro 40
In game two of the Catfish Classic, the Huskies took on the Winterboro Bulldogs out of the 1A classification and much like their win over Pleasant Grove a day prior, both Pierce and Cave once again led the Huskies in scoring.
Combined, the two guards combined for 68 percent of the Huskies’ scoring as 40 of Helena’s 59 points came from Pierce and Cave.
Pierce led the way finishing as the leading scorer with 26 points while connecting on four 3-pointers.
Defensively, Helena held Winterboro to just three points in the first quarter and 20 points in the first half to take a 29-20 halftime lead.
The Bulldogs were unable to make up the deficit as Cave added 14 points and Kelly Watkins chipped in with seven points in the Huskies’ 19-point win.
Winterboro had just one player finish in double figures scoring as Brody Hamm had 10 points against Helena.
Championship. Helena 80 Childersburg 67
After going 2-0 to start the tournament, Helena advanced to the championship game on Dec. 20 to meet tournament host Childersburg for the tournament title.
It was a high-scoring affair as both teams combined for 147 points, but for the third straight game Pierce led Helena in scoring, this time going off for 29 points.
It was Pierce’s third straight game scoring 20 points or more as he tallied 21, 26 and 29 points in three days.
On the other side, Childersburg’s Demetruis Huff matched Pierce in scoring as he essentially carried the Tigers offensively in the championship game with 27 points.
It wouldn’t be enough for the Tigers, as the majority of Helena’s success is contingent on the scoring of Pierce and Cave as Cave used a big second half to finish with 16 points against Childersburg. Cave scored just four points in the first half.
In addition, Helena had two others finish in double figures as Brody Moss recorded 13 points and Andrew Fortson chipped in with 12 points.
The Huskies led 55-44 entering the fourth quarter and essentially iced the game thanks to two 3-pointers from Pierce and success at the free throw line.
As a team, Helena went 10-of-14 from the foul line in the final period as the Tigers were unable to close the gap and the Huskies took the title by a final of 80-67.
With the win, Helena improved to 11-5 on the season and have now won six straight games.
Area play for the Huskies will begin on Tuesday, Jan. 7, when Helena will travel to take on Calera.