Helena girls pull off comeback win against Briarwood in OT

Published 10:36 pm Tuesday, January 10, 2023

By ALEC ETHEREDGE | Managing Editor

NORTH SHELBY – The Helena Huskies faced a 15-point deficit on the road against Briarwood on Tuesday, Jan. 10, but they never wavered in a thrilling overtime win that took overtime to decide.

Trailing 16-1 after one quarter and 19-5 at the half, the Huskies used a 15-0 run between the end of the third quarter and the fourth quarter to force a 29-29 tie at the end of regulation.

With the shift in momentum, they capitalized in the overtime period with a quick 4-0 run to create all of the necessary separation on their way to a 37-32 victory in their area opener.

In the opening half of the game, however, Briarwood’s defense was able to make an early statement by not giving up a point in the first eight minutes of the game.

Offensively, Briarwood did enough to create separation in the opening quarter thanks to two 3-pointers and a jumper.

Emma Kerley and Ann Tatum Baker both knocked down shots from beyond the arc, while Mary Beth Dicen hit a shot as well to help the Lions take an 8-0 advantage.

Briarwood’s dominant start continued into the second quarter by eventually extending the lead to 16-1 before a slight late run from the Huskies.

Still, Helena was only able to put up four more points in the quarter for a total of five in the period and the half, while Briarwood knocked down one more 3-pointer for their second of the period and fourth of the half to take a 19-5 lead into the half.

After a slow first half, the third quarter saw the action pick up between the two.

Helena utilized a full-court press and half-court trap to force Briarwood into mistakes and missed shots, while the Huskies started earning trips to the free throw line.

Helena hit six straight from the line to start the quarter, while Briarwood added five more points to maintain a 24-11 advantage.

The Huskies then got a jumper from Olivia Johnigan to trim the deficit to 11 points, but an and-1 from Briarwood’s Taylor Smith pushed the Lions’ lead back to 14 at 27-13.

Helena, however, responded with a layup and two more free throws to end the period on a 4-0 run and cut the Briarwood lead to 10 going to the final quarter.

Now in a manageable deficit, the Huskies continued the swing in momentum by stretching the run all the way to 15-0 to eventually take a 28-27 lead with 2:45 left.

Johnigan was a big reason why with eight of Helena’s first 10 points in the first 5:15 of the final quarter.

Briarwood, however, got two free throws from Ann Tatum Baker to regain the lead at 29-28 with 39.8 seconds left.

The Huskies then had a chance to win it at the free throw line, but Sophia Merchant managed a 1-2 trip to the line, which ultimately even the scored.

After Briarwood then missed two free throws, the two then headed to overtime where Helena continued the momentum swing and jumped out to a 33-29 advantage.

Briarwood got to within two once and within three another time, but after two 1-2 trips to the free throw line from Johnigan went unanswered by the Lions, the Huskies closed out the comeback victory.

Johnigan led Helena with 19 points in the victory, while Merchant added seven and Amari Grant six.

Baker led Briarwood, now 1-1 in area play, with 10 points.