East County Sports

Highlanders rally, then win in overtime



By Chris Davis
© East County Sports.com


NATIONAL CITY (12-20-16) — The Helix Highlanders had to work a little overtime on Monday (Dec. 19) when they took on Sweetwater in the Sweetwater/National City Lions Club Tournament in the Red Devils’ new gym. The extra four minutes saw the Highlanders squeeze out a 76-73 victory.


Helix (6-2) took an early lead in the first quarter as they led by a single marker at the end of eight minutes of play.


Sweetwater didn’t exactly take it lying down.  The Red Devils came back with a flourish as they outscored Helix in the quarter 23-15, for a halftime advantage of 34-27.


Helix clawed back in the second half as they outscored the hosts, 37-30.


JAYLEN ARNOLD had 20 points to lead all scorers.  DYLAN LEE chipped in with 18 points, while JAYLEN HINSON helped the cause with 15 points to round out the double-figure scorers.


Over the course of the 36 minutes of play CARSON BAKER fouled out with nine points, but he hauled down 14 rebounds before he did.


“There are some people on this team that don’t have their heads in the game,” Highlander head coach JOHN SINGER said after the victory.  “We have to get a helluva lot better than this.  This is not acceptable the way we played.”


The Highlanders finished regulation on a 14-3 run and the teams traded thrilling three-pointers in the extra session, as JUMAR WYNN countered a Red Devil three-ball to swing the momentum back his team’s way with :35 left.

Sweetwater’s Eivan Villagracia had given his squad a lead moments earlier after canning his long-ball shot following a scramble.

But Helix’s AMARI GREEN passed to Wynn for his go-ahead bucket, then following a Sweetwater three-point miss from the corner, Lee canned a pair of free throws for a 74-70 lead with 14.9 seconds left.

Sweetwater earned three free throws following a Helix foul with under 10 seconds to play, but the Red Devils could only convert one of the foul shots.

The Red Devils eventually had the final possession, but couldn’t get a potential game-tying shot off in time.

Earlier in the overtime, Hinson had a key putback to give Helix a 68-64 lead, as he was strong on the offensive glass in the waning minutes.

Sweetwater opened the game impressively, opening up a 22-16 lead early in the second by imposing a somewhat difficult press on the Highlanders. The Red Devils would carry a 34-27 lead into the locker room.

Helix went on a run to take the lead in the third, although Sweetwater made a brief comeback of their own to claim a 47-45 advantage.

The Red Devils would extend the lead to five on three-pointer by star Wyatt Papasin early in the fourth.

Moments later, however, Papasin fell to the ground holding his knee. He had to be carried to the bench by teammates.

Sweetwater banded together momentarily, eventually extending their fourth-quarter lead to 11, but Arnold hit a three-pointer and moments later, Helix added a 5-0 spurt to close the lead to 61-55 with 1:55 remaining in regulation.

Lee then led the late Helix charge, burying a pair of three-pointers to bring the Scotties to within 64-62.

Despite Helix’s woes from close-range all night and an equally rough night at the foul line, the Scots made many of the important free throws late.

Wynn tied the game 64-64 by making a pair of freebies with 33.7 left.

Papasin returned to the floor, but with a limp. His pull-up three at the buzzer rimmed out to force the OT.

The Red Devils were without starting point-guard Neil Ryan Pangilinan.

HELIX:  Arnold 20 pts, 9 reb.; Lee 18 pts, 2 reb., 1 ast., 2 stls; Hinson 15 pts, 7 reb., 1 ast., 1 stl; Wynn 9 pts, 1 ast.; Baker 9 pts, 14 reb., 3 ast., 1 stl; Green 5 pts, 6 reb., 2 ast.

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