Oak Mountain takes in-county battle with Helena on senior night

Published 2:12 pm Friday, October 13, 2023

By ANDREW SIMONSON | Sports Editor

NORTH SHELBY – In a clash of county teams, the Oak Mountain Eagles beat the Helena Huskies, 3-1, on Thursday, Oct. 12 at Oak Mountain High School as the Eagles kept their momentum as the regular season draws to a close.

During the match, Oak Mountain held a ceremony to recognize its graduating seniors during their last regular season match at home. The Eagles honored Ella Pierce, Saiya Patel, Jenna Burson, Emma Hawkins, Ava Heath, Lauren Schuessler and Mabrey Whitehead as they wind down their careers as some of Oak Mountain’s most impactful players.

Right out of the gate, Oak Mountain and Helena locked themselves in a battle to establish their side as the early favorite in the match, and the score line reflected that.

While the Eagles made it to set point, the Huskies needed just one point to send the first set into extra points. In the end, Oak Mountain held off Helena to win the first set, 25-23.

The second set was similarly close as the teams were tied at 15 and remained deadlocked down the stretch. After a 21-21 tie, Oak Mountain once again was up 24-23 on set point.

This time around, however, Helena tied it up at 24 to send the second set to extra points. That led to a back-and-forth stretch with multiple lead changes. Oak Mountain took a 25-24 lead in the first pair of extra points, but Helena tied up the match and then won the next point to go up 26-25.

The Eagles made a strong effort to avoid dropping the set and won three straight points to take the second set, 28-26.

Helena answered its 2-0 deficit in the match going into the third set by going on a 7-2 run to start the frame. The Huskies didn’t let up from there as they extended their lead to 14-6.

After Oak Mountain briefly drew within four, Helena reasserted itself and went up 24-13 to set up set point with an 11-point lead.

Oak Mountain rallied on set point and won five straight points, but Helena recovered and closed out the set to win, 25-18, and cut Oak Mountain’s lead to 2-1 in the match.

The Eagles mounted a tremendous response in the fourth set and started the set with their own 7-2 run after finding themselves down by the same margin in the third set. From there, they cruised to extend their lead to 17-4 with a 10-2 run.

The closing stretch of the set was slightly more competitive between the Eagles and Huskies, but in the end, Oak Mountain finished off the match with a 25-11 win in the fourth set to win the match, 3-1.

Both Oak Mountain and Helena will compete in the Blalock Tournament at Homewood High School on Oct. 13-14 in the final weekend of the regular season.