HELENA — Have a night, Jaxan Lieberg.
The Helena High sophomore logged a game-high 20 points and 5 steals en route to a 52-46 victory over the Helena Capital Bruins, Helena High’s first regular-season sweep of Capital since the 2015-16 season per MTSportsMemories.com.
Lieberg came out in the contest with a hot hand scoring 9 of the Bengal’s first 11 points, finishing the first half with 16 total.
“All the adrenaline kicked in. I was really excited to play and I just wanted to start out hot because last Crosstown they started out hot,” said Lieberg.
The Bruins started the contest slow, turning over the ball eight times early before settling in under senior Hayden Opitz, who logged eight points and four rebounds through the first half and finished with 10 and 8, respectively.
“First quarter, we were a little lost defensively. We weren't really buckled in and I thought we did the second quarter, third quarter, we did in the fourth quarter, we just made errors. We made errors and they made a couple of big plays,” said Helena Capital head coach Guy Almquist.
After being down 9-0 to start the Bruins only found themselves in a four-point deficit at the half and rallied to take the lead early in the fourth quarter at 35-34, but the Bengals were hungry for the sweep rattling off a five-point run capped off by a three-pointer from Tevin Wetzel to put Helena High back firmly in the driver seat.
“I was very excited because it kind of put more of a lead on the – against them and I just felt really good,” said Wetzel, who finished with 12 points and 4 assists.
Though the Bruins never truly lost hope, it just wasn’t meant to be in Saturday’s loss.
“We've got to continue to work and make sure we're on the other end of that next time,” said Almquist.
When asked about the regular season sweep, Helena High Head coach Brandon Day noted he had no idea how long it had been since the Bengals were able to complete the feat, but he was happy his team was able to go out with a bang against their rivals.
“It's a pretty big deal. I'm really excited for the boys. They played their hearts out and I couldn't ask for more,” said Day.
With the victory, the Bengals move to 8-4 in Western AA play and will host the Butte Bulldogs for Helena High’s senior night on Tuesday at 7 p.m.
The Helena Capital Bruins fall to 7-5 on the year and will look to honor its seniors against Missoula Sentinel at home, also, on Tuesday at 7 p.m.