Helena girls pick up win in battle with Thompson

Published 6:28 am Tuesday, December 14, 2021

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By ALEC ETHEREDGE | Managing Editor

HELENA – Following a difficult two-week stretch and a few tight losses in a row, the Helena Huskies bounced back in a big way on Monday night, Dec. 13, with a win against Class 7A rival and county foe Thompson.

The Huskies got 22 points from Olivia Johnigan in the winning effort, 19 of which came in the final three quarters of the game.

In the final quarter, Johnigan almost willed Helena to the win, scoring 12 of those 22 points and 12 of her team’s 14 to break what was a 30-30 tie going into the frame.

That, combined with a defense that looked like a typical Helena defense giving up nine points, helped the Huskies pick up a five-point, 44-39 win.

The exciting finish came after a slow start between the two teams.

It was actually Thompson that was able to grab the early advantage, thanks in large part to a fast start from Alecia Reasor.

The Warriors’ leading scorer came out on fire with seven points behind a 3-pointer, jumper and two free throws.

That, combined with points from Natalie French and Locke Little, helped the Thompson total 11 points, while Helena was held in check.

Johnigan hit a 3-pointer and Alana Scott and Brooklyn Kelley both made shots in addition to a free throw from Sophia Merchant total eight points.

That, however, was followed by a complete shift in momentum in the second quarter.

Trailing by three entering the period, Helena had five players score points in the frame, including seven from Johnigan, who had three field goals and an and-1.

Beyond that, Kelley and Merchant each had three points, while Kennedi Nobles and Scott each added one shot.

That was good enough for a 16-point quarter and Helena’s best of the night.

Thompson got five more from Reasor, but not much else with just one more field goal, which allowed the Huskies to overtake the lead at 25-18 going into the half.

Out of the half, however, Thompson head coach Marty Smith had his defense ready to roll.

The Warriors allowed just two made shots and five points, not allowing Johnigan a point in the quarter.

That allowed Thompson to chip away at the lead, which eventually led to 12 points. Maliyah Green was a big reason for the success with five points, including a 3-3 mark from the free throw line, while Reasor added in one more 3-pointer to her stat line.

That helped the Warriors erase the deficit in a game of runs and even the score at 30-30 going to the final quarter.

In the final quarter, however, the Huskies were on the right end of the momentum shifts, as they got the last one.

Their defense continued to limit Reasor’s second-half production, which was key, while they gave up just nine points.

Offensively, Johnigan was 3-3 from the free throw line, made three field goals and a 3-pointer to total her 12 points, while Scott added one last field goal to her eight-point night to help sew up the back-and-forth win.

Johnigan added nine rebounds to her 22 points, while Scott finished with 12 rebounds in addition to her eight. Merchant chipped in seven for the Huskies.

Thompson was led by Reasor with 15 in the win, 12 of which came in the first half, while Green added eight second-half points and both Dasia Huynh and French added five.