East County Sports

Road is where Helix’s heart shows

2019 EAST COUNTY PREP BOYS BASKETBALL

HELIX 61, LA COSTA CANYON 55

EastCountySports.com staff report

CARLSBAD – A playoff game on the road obviously wasn’t going to be a problem for the Helix Highlanders on Wednesday night.

The road-tested Scotties “controlled (the) game” against host La Costa Canyon, according to junior frontcourt star MAURICE HOLMES.

Holmes scored eight of his 19 points in the first quarter and the steady guard play of juniors JADYN JAMES and KAMRYN BROWN got Helix back “home” with a 61-55 San Diego CIF Division I first-round win.

“Even though we haven’t had our own gym to practice or play in throughout the season, the team has put in work whether it be in the gym across the street from our school or on our own time,” James said

James and Brown combined for 15 second-half points for the tenth-seeded Highlanders, who executed an “upset” of the Mavericks.

“When Jadyn and I are in sync, we control the tempo of the game,” Brown said. “I try to focus on the mental part of the game to keep everyone involved. I keep my composure throughout each minute of the game, focusing on execution play-by-play.”

This one played to the guards’ strengths, apparently, as Helix maintained the advantage throughout.

“While playing road games we’ve faced adversity and remained ‘Cassady-strong,'” Brown said of the ailing Helix coach. “We owe it to our coaches to play at one-hundred percent and we couldn’t let the challenges of not having a gym bring us down.”

Sophomore KAI JESSIE added nine points while junior SAMMY STEWART contributed eight points.

“I’ve been on them hard all year,” Singer said of his combo of James and Brown. “But they played well tonight.”

Helix led 12-9 after one quarter and 27-19 at intermission.

“We came out with high intensity,” Brown said. “(The) coaches put in a good game plan for us and we were mentally prepared to work together in order to execute it.”

The Highlanders’ season, no matter how long it lasts, could make for a 30-for-30 episode.

“When coach (JOHN) SINGER came back, he told us straight up that he expects us to win and that’s what we expected of ourselves throughout the season and continuing into the playoffs,” James said.

“We all have the potential to be great and have a lot of room to grow as players.

“Offensively, we can work on getting more buckets and to be more perfect as a team, but our heart and aggression on defense make up for it for now.”

Helix improved to 17-11 and one can only wonder what record the Highlanders would’ve had with a home-court advantage.

The task gets no easier in facing No. 2-seeded Montgomery next. The Aztecs own 17- and 14-point wins over the Highlanders this season.

“Hopefully, Montgomery will be overconfident,” Singer quipped.

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