HELENA — Capital High coach Guy Almquist didn't take long to pinpoint the significant statistical difference in his team's 48-43 loss to Helena High Thursday night at The Jungle.
Almquist was quick to point out the Bengals' shooting percentage from the perimeter of the field. Helena High shot 9-of-16 from beyond the arch in the big crosstown victory.
"Basketball is a shot-making game, and they shot the heck out of the ball," Almquist said. "(Our team) made a few, and I think if you take a look at the film (the game) was tied 40-40, and it showed (the Bengals) executed way better (tonight)."
The Bruins, who kept the game close the entire way, were also sluggish at the start of the contest, as well as the second half of the game, something Almquist said was another reason for the late separation.
"We didn't get off to a perfect start," Almquist said. "That is tough, especially when you are in the game, and I thought we had the game under control. It's just the first three minutes of the of the game, and second half, (our team) wasn't ready to go. The first three minutes of the second half was just brutal."
Helena High's Pierce Brown was a big factor in turning the tide toward the Bengals direction. Brown poured in 3-pointer after 3-pointer, going 6-of-10 from beyond the arc as he scored a game-high 20 points.
The Bengals shot 16-of-30 from the floor, 9-of-16 from beyond the arc and 7-of-14 from the free throw line in contrast to the Bruins, who shot 14-of-30 from the floor and 7-of-16 from 3-point range.
The Bengals also did the little things right to win this game, according to Helena High coach Brandon Day.
"I thought the biggest thing was Hayden Ferguson and Alex Johnson took five charges," Day said. "(Brown) hit a 3-pointer at the end of the half, and Pierce came out in the second half and got us going in the right direction."
Day, whose roster consists of seven seniors, thought his team's poise and maturity in big games showed tonight.
"We stepped up big defensively a few times," Day said. "Capital is an excellent team, and we got some breaks to go our way tonight."
Because Day's team is generally undersized headed into most contests, him his coaching staff put a lot of emphasis on executing the fundamentals, and Day said he felt like his team, which got its first Western AA conference win of the season, did that tonight.
"We just stuck to the fundamentals and did the little things well defensively," Day said. "Defensively (in most games) we are outsized, and we have to box out well, and our defense is going to win us games, and I thought we did that tonight."
Ferguson, who took three crucial charges in the victory, said executing the fundamentals was the difference between winning and losing the critical conference showdown.
"I think it all started with being able to get out and run and taking five charges between Alex and me," Ferguson said. "(Those types of plays) were huge, and were able to get the offense going."
Ferguson hopes the Bengals can carry the momentum over to their next games against against the Kalispell schools, Flathead and Glacier.
"It's huge to get our first conference win, and hopefully we can carry that into the next few weeks (of the season)," Ferguson said.