HELENA-WEST HELENA- After the first quarter, it was a runaway victory for the 5A-Central leading McClellan High School Lions (14-6, 8-1)as they defeated the Helena-West Helena Central Cougars (5-8, 2-6) by a score of 88-62.
Helena-West Helena, playing its second game in as many days, hung with the heavily-favored Lions for a quarter, but the Cougars never led. In the second quarter, McClellan broke open the game by ending the half on a 27-9 run after the Cougars had cut the lead to 24-20. The Cougars were unable to break McClellan's full-court press during that stretch. The Lions led 51-29 at the intermission and never looked back. By the end of the third, it was 70-45. The Lions put the mercy rule in effect with 6:30 to go in the game.
McClellan was led by Akee Johnson and Michael Thompson, who had 14 points each. They were followed by Derrick Hardy and Tronsayne Ellis with 12 each. The McClellan defense forced 31 Cougar turnovers and held Helena-West Helena to just 17% from behind the 3-point line.
McClellan Coach Chris Threatt, "Anytime you can get a conference win on the road, you are please. We have a lot left to do. We have a tough three game stretch with Pulaski Academy, Jacksonville, and Mills, who are all going to be state tournament teams. We will celebrate tonight and go back to work tomorrow. We want to get a high seed in the tournament at Pine Bluff."
In Girls' action, Helena-West Helena (5-8,3-5) held on for a 42-30 over the Lady Lions. The Lady Cougars, who led 20-12 at the half, were held scoreless for the first five minutes of the second half, but the Lady Lions were unable to capitalize on the drought and trailed 26-17 at the end of the third quarter. That lead would be built to 29-17 before the Lady Lions went on an 8-0 run to cut the lead to 29-25. But four points is as close as McClellan would get. After the Lions scored to cut the Helena-West Helena lead to 31-27 with 3:05 remaining in the game, the Lady Cougars would end the game on an 11-3 run to get the victory.