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The Helena High girls basketball team's offense was firing on most of its cylinders in The Jungle on Tuesday, as the Bengals doubled up Missoula Big Sky during the Western Conference victory, 64-30.

But even more impressive was Helena's defense, as the Lady Bengals improve to 10-2 overall, and 4-1 in league play.

HHS took twice as many shots as Big Sky, 70-35, and allowed the visitors only six points in each of the first three quarters. And they enjoyed a huge margin of 19 fewer turnovers, 25-6. Fifteen of those came by way of burglary, led by Taelyr Krantz's five steals, and three by Sam Holman.

Home team sophomore post Jamie Pickens scored the game's first seven points on Harper Court, and finished with a double-double for game-highs of 15 points and 11 rebounds.

Helena led 17-6 after the first quarter, 28-12 at halftime and 49-18 heading into the final frame. The red-and-white's longest scoring streak was a 14-0 run, when they ran a 9-6 lead in the opening stanza all the way up to 23-6 midway through the next frame.

Three Lady Bengals reached double figures: Pickens, Krantz at 13 points, and Hailey Crawford with 11. Next came Jessica Ellsworth and Kendra Kloker, at seven and six counters, respectively. Hilborn was tops on HHS with seven assists, and Krantz grabbed nine boards.

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Megan Sweeney paced the Lady Eagles with nine points, while teammate Kelsi McEnaney collected nine rebounds.

"We did a lot of good things tonight, especially in the second half when we became more patient and focused on the rim more," HHS coach Eric Peterson said. "And I'm very happy with the defense -- you can't get much better than six points for each of the first three quarters.

"When we got the big lead we tried a couple of new things. And even though they didn't really work, we need to be able to execute a few wrinkles if we want to improve."

Curt Synness is on Twitter @curtsynness_IR and can be reached at


Sports Reporter

Sports Reporter for the Independent Record

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