Pelham powers past Helena in semifinals, advances to area championship game

Published 1:03 am Saturday, February 3, 2024

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By ANDREW SIMONSON | Sports Editor

NORTH SHELBY – For the third time in 2024, the Pelham Panthers emerged victorious over the Helena Huskies, but this time, the win put them one step closer to their ultimate goal.

The Panthers defeated the Huskies 45-26 in the semifinals of the Class 6A, Area 8 tournament at Briarwood Christian School on Friday, Feb. 2 to advance to the area championship game on Tuesday.

Pelham got out to a double-digit lead early with a dominant first quarter powered by sophomore Tee King and saw out the win from there.

Fresh off of scoring the 1,000th point of her young career, King added 10 more points to her total in the opening quarter, including six off a pair of three-pointers.

Gerren Ingram, Karma Wynn and Shea Gallagher all chipped in baskets to help the Panthers score 17 points in the first quarter and put the pressure on Helena.

On the other end of the court, the Pelham defense only added to that pressure and allowed just three points from the Huskies in the first. That gave the Panthers a 17-3 lead after eight minutes of play.

Helena’s lone points came from a Marzel Orozco three-pointer, and she kept the long-range scoring going in the second quarter with two more three-pointers.

Those deep shots made the difference in a quiet second quarter for both offenses as the Huskies held Pelham to four more points before halftime and cut the deficit to six at the break.

The Panthers would only grow that 17-11 lead in the third quarter as the offense regained its rhythm.

Wynn’s six points in the third were supported by baskets from King, Ingram and Taylor Hollingsworth to add 12 more points to the scoreboard as a team.

Helena responded with five points in the third, but Pelham won the quarter and extended its lead to 32-16 going into the fourth.

The Panthers kept piling on the points in the fourth quarter as Wynn and Barfield each scored four more points apiece.

The Huskies refused to go down without a fight and posted their best offensive quarter of the game with 10 points in the final quarter of the game.

However, Pelham’s 13 points in the fourth quarter sealed the victory and the Panthers booked their return ticket to Briarwood for the area title game in four days’ time.

King led Pelham with 19 points in the win and Wynn joined with a double-digit scoring night of her own by dropping 12 points. Ingram also added five points.

In the final game of the year for Helena, Orozco scored nine points to spearhead the scoring. Mallory Rhodes and Destiny Brashears each had five points.

While the road ends in the area semifinals for the Huskies, the Panthers will move on to face the Briarwood Christian Lions on Tuesday, Feb. 6 at 6 p.m. at Briarwood Christian School for the area championship.

Not only will the winner clinch the area title, but it will be guaranteed to host a sub-regional game.