Oak Mountain takes tight win over Helena on senior night

Published 4:46 pm Thursday, February 1, 2024

By ANDREW SIMONSON | Sports Editor

NORTH SHELBY – In their final game of the regular season, the Oak Mountain Eagles held strong with the game on the line and defeated the Helena Huskies 74-71 in a high-scoring battle.

Prior to the game on Wednesday, Jan. 31 at Oak Mountain High School, the Eagles honored their six seniors Sawyer Smith, Kevin Jasinski, Camden Spangler, Grey Williams, Emanuel Johnson and Cameron Channel with a senior night ceremony.

All six seniors made an impact in the game as each of them scored at least two points in the victory over the Huskies.

Both offenses kicked into overdrive from the opening tip as the teams combined for 40 points in the first quarter alone.

While Joseph King and Ian Johnigan drove the Helena offense with six points apiece, eight different Eagles found the bottom of the basket. Jasinski kicked off his senior night with six points while Christopher Kunard had five points in the first.

Oak Mountain took a 23-17 lead into the second quarter, and it quickly built on that lead during the rest of the half.

Jasinski and Williams got going from long range with a pair of three-pointers each as the Eagles scored 20 points during the second period.

While the Huskies offense turned in a 14-point quarter to keep pace behind points from Johnigan, Josh Williams and Drew Davis, they were unable to cut the deficit to single digits before the break.

That meant Oak Mountain carried a 43-31 lead into the locker room at halftime.

Soon afterwards, Helena flipped the script and started clawing its way back into the game to put the pressure on the Eagles.

King, Davis and Josh Williams continued to lead the charge for the Huskies in the third. Josh Williams dropped eight points in the period to get into double figures while King added six more points to his total and Davis made a pair of field goals.

The Huskies defense kept the Eagles quieter from long range in the third and outscored Oak Mountain 20-15 to trail by just seven going into the fourth.

With a 58-51 lead at the start of the final period of play, the Eagles made a trio of shots from the field to try and pull away, but Johnigan went off for 11 of Helena’s 20 points in the fourth quarter to keep the pressure on.

However, when forced to the free throw line, Oak Mountain went 8-12 from the charity stripe and used that to seal the three-point win.

Jasinski led the team with 22 points and Grey Williams joined his fellow senior in double figures with 10 points. Gray Plaia scored nine points, Kunard had seven points and Will O’Dell scored five points.

In addition, seniors Johnson and Spangler each scored three points and Smith and Channell each had two points to give each senior at least one basket on senior night.

For Helena, Johnigan dropped a game-high 23 points, King had 17 points, Josh Williams scored 14 points and Davis had 10 points.

Both teams will move on to the area tournament as Oak Mountain will face Hewitt-Trussville on Tuesday, Feb. 6 at 5:30 p.m. at Spain Park High School with a spot in regionals on the line and Helena will battle the winner of Briarwood and Pelham in the area championship game on Wednesday, Feb. 7 at 6 p.m.