After letting fourth-quarter leads get away in their last two games, the Helena High Bengals were determined not to let it happen again.
And Saturday in Kalispell, in a Western AA girls basketball game, Helena made sure it didn't, notching a 59-43 win on the road versus Flathead.
"It feels really good," Helena head coach Eric Peterson said after the game to KCAP 950 AM. "When they made a little run we were able to stick with them and it just feels good the way we were able to finish the game."
Early on, the Bengals appeared to be in trouble as Kalispell Flathead grabbed an 18-12 lead. But a 16-point second quarter and a strong effort defensively gave the Bengals a 28-23 halftime lead.
Over the second and third quarters, Helena allowed Flathead just 11 points. At the same time, the Bengals were heating up. Kylie Lantz led the way with 17 points and got a big assist from McKayla Kloker, who added 16.
Lantz scored 15 of her 17 from beyond the arc, knocking down 5-of-10 shots from deep.
"Kylie is playing really confident," Peterson said of Lantz. "The coaches believe in her. She is still passing up a few looks and she needs to realize that she has the green light from us. We see it every day in practice, she knows how to score and she's always in a stance on defense."
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Kloker also hit twice from 3-point range, and Maloree English burst onto the scene in the second quarter with two treys of her own and eight points.
The Bengals trailed 20-14 when the freshman entered the game. She promptly scored five quick points, then tied the game on a triple. Soon after, Lantz buried a bomb that gave Helena the lead for good at 25-22.
"We had a couple of freshmen come in and spark us, especially in that second quarter with Maloree," Peterson said. "She was ready to play and everyone was excited, and it got our whole team excited when she started making baskets."
As a team the Bengals (5-6, 3-4) hit nine treys and shot 41 percent from the field. Jenna Johnson scored 12 for the Braves (2-9, 1-6); Clare Converse added 10.
Also in Kalispell on Saturday, top-ranked Helena Capital paid a visit to Glacier looking to finish off a road sweep of the Kalispell teams.
The Bruins established control early, grabbing an eight-point lead and never looked back on their way to a 21-point win. Paige Bartsch was a force inside with 17 points. Dani Bartsch also contributed with 12, one night after scoring 21 in a win over Flathead.
Mara McGinley had a solid outing with nine and Aryana Ridlon contributed with seven. Capital (11-0, 7-0) will host Butte on Thursday night. The Bengals will travel to Butte on Tuesday.