EAST HELENA — The East Helena and Jefferson boys and girls basketball teams split a cross-class doubleheader Tuesday night in The Gallows gym. The Jefferson girls started the night with a 79-51 win, while the East Helena boys won the night cap, 53-51.
Jefferson 79, East Helena 51 (girls)
In her first year at the helm, Jefferson head girls basketball coach Aubrey McMaster led the Class B Panthers to a 10-1 overall record into a Tuesday matchup with Class A East Helena (3-7 overall), which was playing without standout guard Dymon Root.
Late in the second quarter, Jefferson’s Hannah Stevens stole the Vigilantes in-bounds pass, taking it all the way down for two points to put her Panthers up by 13 points.
East Helena coach Carson Bender had his team fighting hard all night, too. Talea Wigens repaid the favor midway through the third quarter, knocking down a big and-one bucket for the Vigilantes, as Wigen and Rori Schoenfeld did everything they could to help will their team to a late home victory.
However, Jefferson's one-two punch of MacKenzie Layng and Michaela Morris proved too much for the Vigilantes, as the visitors overpowered them on the road for the 79-51 non-conference win.
East Helena will next travel to Dillon to face the Beavers on Thursday.
East Helena 53, Jefferson 51 (boys)
In the night cap, it was the 7-3 Panthers led by the junior Hunter Stevens, who would come out firing in their first matchup versus the East Helena Vigilantes (2-8 overall).
After playing Livingston to start the year, Jefferson and head coach Anthony Connole scheduled another Class A non-conference game with East Helena, and the Panthers led by double digits early. Jefferson played without senior Dalton Noble, who was out with an illness, missing his first game since 2021.
Jefferson got hot from the 3-point line early in the game, but Vigilante seniors Tucker Petty and Slade Olson helped spark East Helena's comeback, as Petty would find a wide-open DeonDray Ellis for an East Helena 3-pointer in the first half.
Jefferson ended up shooting 5 of 19 from the free throw line to end the game, as the Vigilantes grabbed the two-point win 53-51.
East Helena has another home game Thursday, as the Vigilantes host Dillon at 7:15 p.m.