Thompson uses early run to down rival Helena

Published 7:41 am Wednesday, February 3, 2021

By ALEC ETHEREDGE | Managing Editor

HELENA – After two consecutive area losses, the Thompson Warriors were looking for confidence to kick off the final week of the regular season when they traveled up the road to take on rival Helena on Tuesday, Feb. 2.

The Warriors got exactly what they needed to start building their confidence back up heading into the area tournament thanks to a fast start that eventually led to a 46-32 road victory against the Huskies.

In the opening quarter of the game, Thompson started to create some early separation thanks to a quick start. The Warriors started the game with an emphatic dunk from Brad Lewis, which kick started a 9-2 run, which was also helped by a 3-pointer from Jack Dorolek.

Helena cut the deficit back to four points at 9-5 late in the quarter, but in the final minute, Grant Hopkins threw down another dunk for the Warriors to give them a six-point, 11-5 lead at the end of the opening period.

The Huskies hung tough early in the second quarter, eventually cutting the deficit to five points at 14-9, but Thompson answered with a game-changing run.

The Warriors closed the second quarter on a 9-0 run to take a 23-9 advantage into the halftime break, as the Huskies struggled to find any offensive rhythm the rest of the half, leading to single digit points.

Coming out of the break, the run continued for the Warriors when Wesley Roberson knocked down a quick 3-pointer to make it 26-9, with Thompson eventually extending the run to 14-0 to take a 28-9 lead.

Helena broke the drought, but momentum remained in Thompson’s favor for the next few minutes of the third quarter, with the Warriors grabbing a 22-point lead at 35-13 after a 3-pointer from Landen Lawrence, which extended their run to 21-4 dating back to the first half.

The Huskies, however, finally found a rhythm near the end of the third quarter, ending the period on a 7-0 run to trim the deficit down to 15 points going to the final quarter.

While Dorolek hit a 3-pointer early in the final quarter to make it 38-20 in favor of Thompson, Helena continued a strong stretch of play.

The Huskies went on a 9-3 run after that, continuing a 16-6 run dating back to the third quarter. That brought Helena to within 12 points after trailing by more than 20 midway through the third quarter.

Thompson, however, got a dunk from Braden Smith shortly after, which seemed to be the final blow, as the Warriors ended the game on a 5-3 run to put away the 46-32 win.

While the two teams were close in rebounds and assists, matching each other with 25 boards and Thompson posting 11 assists compared to Helena’s eight, it was the defensive end that made the difference.

The Warriors, who are normally a sharp-shooting team from beyond the arc, only shot 24 percent from three in this game, but the defense picked up nine steals in the game compared to one from the Huskies.

Those steals led to easy baskets on the other end to finish fast breaks, and played a part in a 42-percent shooting mark from the field.