Basketball is sweeter in the postseason and for the Wetumpka Indians, their postseason journey just got sweeter Wednesday as they toppled Helena’s Huskies for a crucial sub-region win.
When the first three-pointer splashed and the Wetumpka jumped into a groove, it was only the matter of maintaining their torrid pace in the 54-48 victory. The victory was the first sub-region win in Jermel Bell’s tenure at Wetumpka, one he couldn’t hold in emotionally.
“This is my first sub-region win here at Wetumpka, it’s why we’re so excited. It’s been a long time coming,” Bell said. “Our last coach (Edward) Rogers, my assistant, is the last one who took the girls to the region finals before I got here. All the gentlemen who’ve helped me as well have done a tremendous job. And it showed tonight.”
Wetumpka jumped ahead 11-3 as Helena didn’t manage to make their early shot attempts land like they’d expected them to. The Indians were off to the races after looking at a 5-3 lead swell. Each program had an extra day of preparation and it showed on the floor. But the complexion of the game changed a bit in the second quarter.
Helena forced the Indians to commit three more fouls, bringing their total to five in the first half of play and the first half of the second quarter. That’s where Jermel Bell called a timeout that worked just enough for the Indians to calm the rising momentum.
The Huskies were able to post another six points in the quarter as Wetumpka couldn’t wrestle their lead to a bigger gap, setting up an intense second half.
Wetumpka was up 20-16 when the third started and there was a bit of pressure, but the Huskies weren’t able to grab the lead. Instead, Shavonna Lucas’ three to kickstart the second half put wind in the Indians’ sails.
Wetumpka switched to a press defense and forced Helena to make mistakes offensively and the Indians capitalized. It led to the Indians holding a nine-point lead in the third quarter, which was just enough.
Helena never picked up the lead but did add to their total and place pressure back on the Indians. The pressure wasn’t felt for Wetumpka.
Instead, the Indians pulled ahead eight more points before Helena could find another good shot.
The Huskies sniffed the lead once again in the latter stages of the fourth quarter, but the deficit was too much to overcome.
Wetumpka ran off with the 54-48 victory at the end of the night.
Morgan Causey notched a double-double in the victory scoring 10 points and 15 rebounds.
“That’s a great double-double anytime you’re playing in a playoff game,” Bell said.
Janae McCall poured in 25 for the Indians and Zariah Fannin picked up 14.
“Janae (McCall), she missed the last few games but she came off the bench and scored 25 points with five rebounds,” Bell said. “Couldn’t ask nothing more from her, she did what she needed to do to step up tonight.”