Helix wins on Senior Night . . . at home
- Updated: February 5, 2020
2020 EAST COUNTY PREP BOYS BASKETBALL
HELIX 62, WEST HILLS 47
By Ramon Scott
LA MESA – The parents of the Helix High varsity basketball teams probably weren’t going to be denied the opportunity to see their kids play at least one game in their home gym before graduating.
So, following the recent completion of the beautiful refurbishing of the famed facility, the parents had their say and there probably wasn’t much athletic director Damon Chase could do but make sure there was room for everyone who wanted to attend the Senior Night for the boys and girls teams on Tuesday against visiting West Hills.
The schedule for the gym’s redesign has gone pretty much according to plan except one major snafu.
There are no bleachers installed.
Call it red tape or just a lack of available funds to finish the job but the last part of the plan has taken longer than expected to complete.
That has made it difficult for all of the teams that use the facility, as they have taken their games, matches, and practices elsewhere for the better part of two years.
Well, the seats are soon to arrive and will be installed likely by the end of the month but the winter sports season is quickly drawing to a close.
But with everything else in place, it would seem out of place to play another Senior Night at another school’s building.
So a couple of hundred parents and fans gathered for the Tuesday night Grossmont Hills League contests against the Wolf Pack. The attendees sat in portable chairs and stood against a back wall for a unique setting.
The Highlanders seem to take to the “new” setting.
The Helix boys bolted out to a 22-2 lead over the first seven minutes and continued on for a 62-47 victory for their 12th-straight win – and a one-game home winning streak.
Highlander senior Maurice Holmes scored 22 points and grabbed 11 rebounds. Holmes, who will attend Fresno Pacific University next year, had three three-pointers.
Senior Kamryn Brown added nine points for ninth-ranked Helix (19-6), who improved to 7-0 in the Grossmont Hills League.
Seniors Sammy Stewart and Xavier Otis finished with six points for the Scotties, while senior teammates Jadyn James and Jahari Hill had five points. Senior Isaiah Robinson contributed four points for Helix.
Helix can clinch the league championship outright with a victory in its next game – on the road – at Grossmont (5-2 GHL).
Helix head coach John Singer had 10 seniors on this year’s roster. It would seem unfair not to let them play at least one game at home, although Holmes played for the Scotties in the gym as a sophomore.
The Highlanders could return for another home game should the installation of the bleachers finish in a timely fashion.
Helix is most likely headed to the Division I playoffs and not the Open Division tournament – but despite its top ten ranking in the local media poll – the Highlanders are closer to a No 5-seed in the Division I power ratings come the postseason, which would provide the opportunity for a first-round home contest.
The Highlanders could conceivably move up to receive a bye as a top-four seed but it seems unlikely given the team’s strength of schedule, which has been weakened by a down year for the GHL. Helix has three league games left.
Still, the team has been able to conduct about half of the team’s practices this season in its new building. However, they’ll be kicked out again next week when the new stands arrive and the work begins.
West Hills, which fell to 11-13 and 4-3 in the Hills League, was led by senior Kyle Dobyns’ 27 points and eight rebounds.
Brendan Greene added six points for the Wolf Pack.
“Congrats to Helix on a well-executed game plan and opening of their new gym,” West Hills head coach Tim Barry said. “That is by far the most overwhelmed my team has been in a first half all year and we have played some pretty solid teams including Torrey Pines, Eastlake, and Coronado.”
West Hills controlled the play in the fourth quarter, outscoring the Highlanders 28-10.
“It seemed like they could not miss in the first half and their defensive presence forced us into an 0-for-10 from the three which is our bread and butter,” Barry said. “I’m proud my kids battled back to respectability by the game’s end but that game was nowhere near as close as the end score shows.”