HELENA — The Helena Capital boys basketball put an exclamation mark on its senior night festivities with a 61-36 win over Kalispell Glacier on Saturday.
Junior Brayden Koch once again paced the Bruins with 21 points, as head coach Guy Almquist started all four of his seniors in their final regular season home game.
“I thought we played with incredible passion and energy tonight, which we need to play with,” Almquist said. “Our defense led to our offense. You’ve got to give credit to that starting group, we started our four seniors tonight. I thought they did a great job playing with that energy we needed and got us the lead.”
It did not take long to see that the Bruins had brought enough of that energy, particularly on the defensive side, to go around. Pressing Glacier after every made basket to begin the game, Capital quickly amassed an 8-0 advantage through the game’s first three minutes.
Employing a zone with frequent trapping and doubling of the post, the Bruins allowed just four points in the opening eight minutes of action, while building a 16-point lead. An 8-0 run by Glacier shaved that to 10 points by halftime, but Capital stretched its advantage back to 21 points by the end of the third quarter.
“We were really sharing the ball throughout the game, playing with a lot of passion and a lot of confidence in either other and ourselves,” senior Malachi Syvrud said. “Shots were falling and we were getting rebounds on the defensive end and that really got our offensive side started.”
A 60.9 percent effort from the field helped fuel Capital’s 15-1 run in the third quarter as the Bruins finished the contest shooting 53.7 percent from the field. Twenty Wolfpack turnovers turned into 23 points for the Bruins, while Koch racked up five of Capital’s 15 steals on the evening.
While Glacier held a 29-24 edge in the overall rebounding battle on Saturday, Capital out-rebounded the Wolfpack 21-18 on the defensive glass, and also racked up three offensive boards.
“We talked quite a bit about that and I thought from the very beginning — we were playing good defense, but when they missed, we were absolutely attacking the ball,” Almquist said. “When we’re able to rebound the ball, we can get out in transition, gain some confidence and just start to snowball from there.”
Glacier shot just 27.5 percent from the field on Saturday, including a 23.8 percent effort from 3-point range. Junior Connor Sullivan paced the Wolfpack with six points and senior Jaxson Olsen chipped in five points. No other Glacier player scored more than four points in the loss.
Syvrud joined Koch in double figures for the Bruins with 14 points on 5-for-7 shooting. Syvrud also pulled down five rebounds to go along with his two assists and two steals.
Senior Tyler Tenney, junior Jacob Curry and sophomore Hayden Opitz each added seven points, while seven different Bruins recorded at least one steal in the win.
“That’s the type of balance we need,” Almquist said. “I think you could see some of those kids were much more aggressive tonight in taking their opportunities. That’s what we need if we’re going to be the team we can be.”
With their four-game losing streak dispatched and a 1-1 record now against Glacier this season, the Bruins sit at 5-6 on the season. Glacier falls to 5-8 with the defeat.
“We played well tonight, but we gotta win some more games to clinch a home playoff game,” Syvrud said. “We got Hellgate on Monday, so that’s an important game for us. We just want to keep this going.”
Capital will be back in action on Monday against Missoula Hellgate on the road. Tip off for that game is scheduled for 4:30 p.m. Glacier is scheduled to play at Kalispell Flathead on Tuesday with a 7:15 p.m. tip off.
Email Daniel Shepard at email@example.com or find him on Twitter @IR_DanielS.