BAKER CITY - Not making the trip to the OSAA 1A State basketball championships in 20 years, the Helix girls' basketball team showed its rust on the big stage against Southwest Christian.
Unable to get going in the first half and shooting just 2 for 21, the Grizzlies watched Southwest Christian turn its nine-point halftime lead into a 38-28 win in the last game of first round action.
"More than anything it's a lack of experience," Helix coach Dean Fouquette said. "Every team is good here and if you don't bring your 'A' game you're not going to win. We just didn't play as well as we have this season."
Helix found its feet in the second half, scoring 19 points, but by then the hole was too deep to climb out of. Led by Brittney Adams' 20 points and 10 rebounds, the Wildcats never let off the gas in the second half.
"(Adams) was a really good player," Fouquette said. "I don't think we played very good defense on her but you can't take anything away from her. She's good. She was really tough for us to guard."
Like the Grizzlies, Southwest Christian struggled from the field in the first half, but picked it up in the second, shooting 42.9 percent.
Leading the Grizzlies in scoring for the game was Meghan Schroeder, who scored 12 points. And Chyanne Hack led them in rebounding with 10.
Helix has the tough task of a breakfast game today against Adrian at 10 a.m. With the added factor of waking up early for a game after playing the nightcap, Fouquette has hammered home the point of staying relaxed and loose going into that final game.
"We're out having some fun, eating some pizza with our families," Fouquette said. "We're trying to impart on them that they have to just try and relax and let it go. It's not the end of the world and it could be a lot worse. We're still one of eight teams left in the tournament."