Johnigan drops 27 as Helena uses second-half effort to defeat Chelsea

Published 9:51 am Friday, January 5, 2024

By ANDREW SIMONSON | Sports Editor

CHELSEA – After a tight opening 16 minutes, the Helena Huskies came out of the locker room strong and took a 54-38 win on the road at the Chelsea Hornets on Wednesday, Jan. 3.

With the Huskies needing contributors to step up in the wake of Josh Williams’ absence, Ian Johnigan had a strong performance with 27 points on the night and Joseph King scored 13 to help spearhead the Helena offense.

He led the way early with five of Helena’s 12 first-quarter points, but Chelsea’s Christian Whetstone and Aiden Owens helped the Hornets keep within four points of the lead going into the second quarter.

The teams continued to be evenly matched in the second quarter as they each scored 11 more points before halftime.

Chelsea’s Gavin Collett got on the score sheet with five points in the second, and each team had four different scorers during that time for a balanced attack going into the break.

Leading just 23-19 after halftime, Helena flipped the switch and pulled out to a double-digit advantage in the third quarter.

Johnigan hit a trio of three-pointers for 13 points in the third, while Joseph King hit four free throws to extend Helena’s lead to 42-29 at the end of three quarters of play.

The Huskies continued to outpace the Hornets in the fourth to seal the win.

Johnigan added six more points and his team outscored Chelsea 12-9 in the final period to secure the 16-point road victory.

In addition to Johnigan’s 27-point night and King’s 13, Jordan Edwards scored five points for Helena.

Chelsea’s Avery Futch got into double-figures with 11 points while Whetstone and Collett each had nine points and Owens scored eight.

The Huskies will take on Calera at home on Friday, Jan. 5 in their final game before the start of area play, while Chelsea will kick off area play on the same night against Hewitt-Trussville at Chelsea High School.