Helena sweeps season series with Briarwood behind 25 from Williams

Published 3:58 pm Saturday, January 20, 2024

By ANDREW SIMONSON | Sports Editor

NORTH SHELBY – At the halfway mark in area play, the Helena Huskies are undefeated after earning their second straight win over the Briarwood Christian Lions.

This time, the Huskies had to take care of business on the road at Briarwood Christian School, and they did so in comeback fashion in the second half to earn the 57-43 win on Friday, Jan. 19.

Ian Johnigan kickstarted the offense early for Helena with a pair of first-quarter three’s as he scored seven of his team’s 10 points in the opening period.

However, it was Briarwood which got the better of the Huskies early on with a balanced attack anchored by guard play from Drew Mears and Garrett Witherington’s performance from the frontcourt.

Mears and Witherington scored four points apiece as part of a 13-point first quarter for the Lions to give them a three-point lead at the end of the period.

The Briarwood duo continued to impact the game on offense in the second thanks to six points from Mears and four from Witherington, but it was Josh Williams who took over the game for Helena and willed his team’s offense with eight of their 12 points in the quarter.

That cut the Lions lead to just two at the halftime horn and the home side went into the locker room with a 24-22 lead.

Williams continued to dominate on offense in the third quarter as he added 10 points to his total for the game.

While the Huskies offense continued improving, it was their defense in the third which made the difference.

They held Briarwood to just one basket from the field and eight points total in the third, which let Helena take a 36-32 advantage into the fourth quarter.

Even though Mears’ six fourth-quarter points helped the Lions bounce back for 11 points, the Huskies saved their best offensive performance for the final eight minutes of play.

Helena dominated from the free throw line late, shooting 12-14 from the charity stripe to help it score 21 points in the final period.

Williams and Joseph King each went a perfect 4-4 from the line in the fourth to help the Huskies pull away for the 14-point win.

Williams led the way in scoring with a game-high 25 points. Johnigan had a double-digit scoring night with 10 points, King scored eight points, Drew Davis had seven points and Torrey Ward recorded five points.

For the Lions, Mears dropped 16 points, Witherington had 11 points, Eli Stubbs scored six points and Josh Thompson had five points.

Helena will wrap up area play with a two-game set against their rivals, the Pelham Panthers, with the first game coming on Tuesday, Jan. 23 at 7:30 p.m. at Helena High School.

On the same day and at the same time, Briarwood will host Moody at home.