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Central Bank Shootout

Josh Smith of Helias takes a shot during Friday’s game against DeSmet in the Central Bank Shootout at Rackers Fieldhouse.

Josh Smith of Helias takes a shot during Friday’s game against DeSmet in the Central Bank Shootout at Rackers Fieldhouse. Photo by Stephen Brooks.

Most basketball teams know what they would like to get out of their offense, but doing it is another matter entirely. Not so for the DeSmet Spartans on Friday night. The Spartans were almost picture perfect in their execution while capturing a 66-58 win over the Helias Crusaders in the Central Bank Shootout at Rackers Fieldhouse. How perfect? Through three quarters, DeSmet was shooting an astounding 21-of-29 from the field (72.4 percent). After a so-so (for them) 5-of-10 effort in the final quarter, the Spartans finished at a scorching 28-of-39 (71.8 percent) for the game. Helias coach Josh Buffington summed up the Spartans very simply after the game. “They’re a very smart team. They’re a very good team,” he said of the state’s eighth-ranked team in Class 5.

The Crusaders stayed within striking distance of the Spartans all game, with DeSmet holding a one-point edge in each of the first two quarters. Helias trailed 16-15 after one quarter and 30-28 at halftime, sticking close thanks to 15 points from Zach Rockers.

But the Spartans made some great halftime adjustments and held the Helias senior to just two points after intermission, that coming on a jumper with 1:11 left in the fourth quarter.

“Not only did they make a conscious effort to limit Zach’s touches, but they got us off our spots at all five spots and really took us out of what we wanted to do,” Buffington said.

The changes helped the Spartans go up 37-30 early in the third quarter, but some sharpshooting by Josh Smith got the Crusaders back in it. Smith had a pair of 3-pointers and eight total points in the frame, then canned three more 3s in the fourth on his way to a team-high 20 points.

“He’s a gamer for us,” Buffington said. “He’s giving us a huge spark when we go to our bench. He’s really playing with a lot of confidence.”

The Spartans’ lead was 47-42 at the start of the fourth quarter and the Crusaders had one final chance to get back into it. But after a missed dunk by DeSmet, Helias missed a wide-open 3 and the Spartans converted it into a layup and a seven-point edge.

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