Helias shines in Jamboree

It appears the Helias Crusaders are huge fans of Jamborees.

With the sport of high school basketball experimenting with preseason Jamborees for the first time, the Crusaders hosted three other boys teams Friday, and the home team was especially impressive.

In a pair of scrimmages against Blair Oaks and Fatima, each of them consisting of three six-minute quarters, Helias shot the lights out. The Crusaders connected on 65 percent from 2-point range, 36 percent from 3-point range and 80 percent from the foul line.

“From an offensive standpoint, we moved the ball extremely well, we played unselfish,” Helias coach Josh Buffington said. “I thought our speed was great and under control, and that all starts with (point guard) Isiah (Sykes). That’s how we need him to play.”

Sykes got the Crusaders off to an great start in their first scrimmage, a 47-28 win against Blair Oaks in Rackers Fieldhouse. The junior guard ripped the nets for 16 of his 19 points in the first quarter, hitting 4-of-6 from 3-point range. The last of those was part of a four-point play that put the Crusaders up 19-6 less than four minutes in.

While the Falcons did walk the lead down to two points in the second quarter, the Crusaders responded in the third and pushed the winning margin back to 19.

The Crusaders then moved over to the Helias Gym for their second game, and the change didn’t hurt them in the least. Helias shot a torrid 20-of-33 (61 percent) from the field while beating Fatima 48-39.

Trevor Koelling paced Helias with 15 points, while Sykes added 11. The Crusaders played without four of their projected top 11 players, as three are still playing football and one was sick.

“Any time you play someone at this time of year, it’s usually better than what your first team is going against in practice,” Buffington said. “Nothing against your scout team or your JV players, but it’s just not quite the same level.

“… Both of the opponents we saw are teams that are athletic, they get after you and try to take you out of your stuff. From that point on, you have to figure out how to make plays, and how to make smart plays.”

The Crusaders will open the regular season Dec. 10 at home against Battle.

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