East County Sports

Scotties grow, learn with ultimate defeat

Helix's Miles Norris is pictured on the jumbo screens at the Golden 1 Center on Saturday.

 2016-17 EAST COUNTY PREP BOYS BASKETBALL

CIF STATE DIVISION IV BOYS CHAMPIONSHIP GAME

ST. PATRICK-ST. VINCENT 59, HELIX 46

By Ramon Scott

EastCountySports.com

 

SACRAMENTO – Helix High junior MILES NORRIS has been immensely successful at helping his Highlanders teammates realize their highest potential as basketball players.

Already a steady, tournament-winning unit in December, the Scotties were a team in training, just waiting for their prized possession to take the floor with them, then maybe, just maybe, take them all the way to Sacramento.

How could the humble Highlanders be so sure with their one-game-at-a-time approach?

St Patrick’s-St. Vincent’s BJ Standley is fouled by Helix’s Jaylen Arnold as he drives to the bucket in the third quarter ofthe Bruins’ 59-46 victory in the CIF Boys Division IV State Championship.

St Patrick’s-St. Vincent’s BJ Standley is fouled by Helix’s Jaylen Arnold as he drives to the bucket in the third quarter of the Bruins’ 59-46 victory in the CIF Boys Division IV State Championship. / Joel Rosenbaum — The Reporter

Norris is a once-a-generation prodigy that only is beginning to realize his impact on a full-fledged basketball team.

As the athletic test of the game spreads out when the competition becomes stiffer, Norris’ presence has allowed his teammates to do things they probably never thought they could achieve on a basketball court.

And after Norris had cleared his transfer ineligibility window, the Scotties made it look easy at times during a 22-game winning streak, making league games look like dunkfests.

That’s why when Norris ended up in foul trouble in Saturday’s CIF State Division IV championship game against St. Patrick-St. Vincent, Helix was thrown into a funk.

The Scotties battled back from an early deficit to take a halftime lead, but a Norris-less Highlanders had no rhythm as the Bruins put together a 16-3 run with the 6-foot-9 star on the bench, and put away the champs, 59-46 at Sacramento’s new Golden 1 Center.

It wasn’t just Norris who had drawn the attention of the officials’ whistle. Three other starters had to defend cautiously against a potent unit from Vallejo and the North Coast Section.

In turn, the third-seeded Bruins outscored second-seeded Helix 25-7 in the third quarter turning the tide of another stellar defensive half by the Highlanders that their fans are used to.

The Scotties held St. Patrick-St. Vincent (28-7) to just 8 of 30 from the field in the first half, including 1 for 11 from beyond the arc. The Bruins missed 14-straight shots to end the half as Helix led 20-19.

Tip-off of the CIF State Division IV championship game in Sacramento on Saturday afternoon.

Senior DYLAN LEE hit a bucket with just over two and a half minutes left in the first half, and there would be no more scoring before halftime.

But, Helix started slow out of the intermission, as the Bruins opened on a 9-2 run.

“We came out with no energy in the third quarter,” said Helix coach JOHN SINGER. “We didn’t come out with any urgency. I don’t know if we were spent.”

Norris then picked up his fourth foul with 4:17 left in the third and Singer was forced to play the time game with the biggest star on the floor.

“We have had Miles with four fouls a couple of times before,” Singer said. “Somebody has to step up. We have kids on the bench that have to get up and play.

“Let’s give credit where credit is due. They played four quarters and we played one quarter. We couldn’t finish our shots. They were the better team.”

Point guard BJ Standley scored seven of his game-high 16 points in the third period for SPSV, while senior swingman Tavian Henderson took advantage of Helix’s aggressiveness, hitting five free throws in the quarter.

The fouls plagued Helix in the second half, as Norris, Arnold, Baker and Lee all were in trouble and the Bruins were in the bonus just 36 seconds into the fourth.

Norris, whose third foul came just 2:21 into the third, finished with a team-high 11 points and added 10 rebounds for the Highlanders (31-6), while senior JAYLEN ARNOLD added 10 points and 12 boards. Lee finished with nine points. as did Horizon transfer JAYLEN HINSON.

Helix shot just 15-of-59 (25 percent) from the field, as the Bruins led 44-27 after dominating the third.

St. Pat’s employed a zone that left the Highlanders’ perimeter stars hesitant to force it inside to their primary force, instead opting for what turned out to be an uncustomarily unsuccessful stream of jumpers.

Helix huddles moments before the start of the game against St. Patrick-St. Vincent.

“We didn’t come out as hard as we did at the beginning and they took advantage,” Norris said, who only took eight shots in the second half, scoring one point in the fourth quarter.

The fouls plagued Helix in the second half, as Norris, Arnold, Baker and Lee all were in trouble and the Bruins were in the bonus just 36 seconds into the fourth.

The Highlanders cut the lead to eight after a 10-2 run, as Lee and Baker both canned threes in that stretch and the Bruins missed the front end of 1-and-1s twice.

Helix made a run into the final media timeout, but Akili Edwards was fouled by the Highlanders attempting a three-pointer with 3:30 left as SPSV led 49-39.

Moments later, the Bruins had a 14-point edge. Helix got it back to within 12 with 2:32 left.

St. Pat’s finished off the threat with a 13-5 run to increase the lead to 59-42.

Marquel Johnson, Romeo Mays and Henderson each had 12 points for the Bruins.

Helix’s JAYLEN ARNOLD and teammates in the interview room following the game.

Singer was able to get the remaining players into the game after the result was inevitably determined in the final minute.

“We held them to 20 points at the half, ” said Bruins coach Derek Walker, who won his 200th career game as a head coach. “We missed 14 shots in a row but I didn’t think that would last.”

Helix became the first boys team from East County to reach the pinnacle game since state playoffs began.

“This experience was great,” Arnold said. “We didn’t get the win, but things happen for a reason. It was a great season.”

Photo gallery from Prep2Prep – click here

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