Three buzzer beaters hurt Helena in tight battle with Clay-Chalkville

Published 1:25 am Friday, November 19, 2021

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By ALEC ETHEREDGE | Managing Editor

PINSON – Three buzzer beaters from Clay-Chalkville, including one at the final buzzer, was the difference in the Cougars downing the Helena Huskies in a thriller on Thursday, Nov. 18.

After Ian Johnigan tied the game on a 3-pointer from the corner with 13 seconds left, Clay-Chalkville got one last opportunity to win the game.

Inbounding out of a timeout, the Cougars brought the ball up the court, and after a couple of swing passes, the ball ended up in the hands of Cedric Dixon.

Dixon took a strong dribble to his right, before the left then popped up and shot a three as the buzzer sounded that found the bottom of the net for a 62-59 victory.

It capped off a thrilling game that saw neither team win a quarter by more than five points throughout.

Early in the game, however, Clay-Chalkville had a more aggressive approach that allowed the Cougars to squeak out the opening two quarters with the lead.

They put together 15 points in each of the first two periods thanks in large part to six made shots from beyond the arc—three in each quarter.

Helena, however, was able to hang tough in both frames.

In the opening quarter, Johnigan got his night off to a strong start and helped the Huskies battle alongside the Cougars thanks to eight points, including a field goal, 3-pointer and 3-3 mark from the free throw line.

That in addition to two from Charlie Marshall and one from Joseph King made it a 15-13 game at the end of the first quarter.

Helena made two from beyond the arc in the second quarter, but the problem in the period became six missed free throws. The Huskies made four from the line, but went 4-10, which made the difference in them scoring 12 points in the period, leading to a 30-25 lead for the Cougars at the half.

Clay also hit a buzzer-beating 3-pointer at the end of each of the first two quarters, which gave the Cougars the lead at the end of the first and led to a five-point advantage at the break.

Coming out in the second half, Helena turned up the pressure looking to erase the deficit, and it quickly paid off.

The Huskies not only limited Clay-Chalkville to 11 points, but they scored 16 thanks to five different scorers in the period, including Johnigan with five more and Josh Williams with four.

That evened the score at 41-41 heading to the final period of play.

Helena then fed off of that with its best quarter of play on the offensive end of the floor, but perimeter defense became the difference.

The Huskies totaled 18 points in the final period with three made 3-pointers, but they allowed four from beyond the arc to the Cougars, who also went 5-5 from the free throw line in the period.

With 1:50 left in the final quarter, Helena held a two-point lead, but Clay answered with a 3-pointer with 1:09 to play.

The Cougars then drained two free throws to make it a 59-56 game before Johnigan drained his 3-pointer to even the score.

One last three from Dixon in a back-and-forth final period, however, made the difference.

Johnigan led the way for the Huskies with 21 points, while Williams finished in double digits as well thanks to 12 points. Nine total players scored for the Huskies in the difficult loss.