Scoring balance leads Helias boys to crown

KIRKSVILLE — It was a familiar story for the Helias Crusaders.

One night after putting four players in double figures in a semifinal victory in the Class 4 District 8 Tournament, the Crusaders had the same four do it again in the championship game.

The balance paid off to the tune of a 74-56 win against the Moberly Spartans at Kirksville High School.

“Our balanced production has really taken off as of late,” Helias coach Josh Buffington said. “And it all stems from our work on the defensive end — we were winning a lot of the small battles on the court.”

Isiah Sykes led the way for the Crusaders with 23 points, while Adam Bax was close behind with 19. Collin Caywood chipped in with 12, while Hale Hentges added 11.

“We’re showing a lot of leadership on the court right now,” Buffington said.

The Crusaders broke open a close game with a big second quarter. Holding a 17-15 lead after the first period, the Crusaders took a 36-26 lead into the locker room. Moberly outscored Helias 17-12 in the third quarter to get to within 48-43, but the Crusaders had a 26-15 scoring edge in the final period.

Helias, ranked seventh in the state, improved to 20-7 with the victory. They will play at 7:45 p.m. Wednesday in a sectional game at Troy Buchanan High School against St. Charles (24-3). St. Charles, the fourth-ranked team in the state, advanced to the game by winning its district with a victory against Duchesne, the second-ranked team in the state.

“I’m very excited about Wednesday, very excited,” Buffington said.

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