Helena holds on for second win of week over Pelham to finish area play undefeated

Published 11:02 pm Friday, January 26, 2024

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By ANDREW SIMONSON | Sports Editor

PELHAM – After the Helena Huskies and Pelham Panthers battled it out on Tuesday, Jan. 23 at Helena High School, the excitement only built for the second half of their regular season series just 72 hours later on Friday, Jan. 25.

This time, the Huskies had to take care of business on enemy territory at Pelham High School, but they earned a 44-37 lead to finish a perfect 4-0 in area play.

While Helena already clinched the one seed in the area tournament and a spot in sub-regionals on Tuesday, that didn’t lessen the intensity of another fierce rivalry matchup.

The Huskies started the game strong on offense with a 10-1 run to begin the matchup. That gave Helena the early momentum, but it was later halted by the Pelham defense which held the Huskies to just three more points in the first.

However, the Panthers were only able to add 3 more points to their total, and going into the second quarter, Helena led Pelham 13-4.

That quickly changed in the second quarter as both teams found their scoring form the rest of the way before halftime.

Both the Huskies and Panthers spread out their offense with Denton McDonald leading Helena with four of its 11 points and Pelham’s 13 points coming from five points by Eli Lewis and four by Joe Wimberly.

With the Panthers outscoring the Huskies in the second, they cut the lead to seven points going into halftime as Helena led 24-17 at the break.

While the Huskies controlled the first half with the lead, that wouldn’t last for long as Pelham went ahead in the third quarter behind seven points from Wimberly and 13 as a team.

Josh Williams’ five points helped Helena limit the damage and retake the lead, and the Huskies were in front 33-30 after three quarters of play.

With the game hanging in the balance as Helena held just a one-possession lead, the momentum swung back and forth in the fourth quarter.

At the end of the day, it was the Huskies’ free throws that made the difference as they went 7-10 from the line and scored 11 points as a whole during the closing moments.

That was enough to outscore Pelham by four in the fourth and earn the seven-point win to finish out area play.

Williams led Helena with 13 points on the night and Ian Johnigan scored nine points. Torrey Ward had seven points and McDonald added six points.

The Panthers were led in scoring by Joe Wimberly, who had 13 points, Eli Lewis with 11 points and Egypt Daniel with eight points.

Helena finished out its area slate with its win over Pelham, and it will close the regular season with a home game against Thompson on Monday, Jan. 29 at 7 p.m. and a road trip to Oak Mountain on Wednesday, Jan. 31 at 7 p.m.

Pelham is back in action on Monday, Jan. 29 for their final home game in area play against Briarwood at 7:30 p.m.