HELENA -- It wasn't pretty or sensational by any measure, but the workmanlike win Missoula Sentinel earned over Helena High Tuesday was still vitally important.
Alex Germer worked his way into double figures with 14 points and the Spartans also got 10 off the bench from Jaime Jacobsen in a 50-36 Western AA road win at the Jungle in Helena. Sentinel is now 7-0 on the season and 3-0 in conference play, while the Bengals drop to 2-5 overall, but 1-2 in divisional play.
"It was a huge win," Sentinel head coach Jay Jagelski said. "Anytime you win on the road in the conference, it's a huge win. Now, we have to turn around and get ready for Capital (Saturday)."
Germer may have come into the game as one of the top scorers in Class AA and he was solid again with 14 points, six of which came at the line, however, nothing came easy.
"I thought we did a great job defensively," Helena head coach Brandon Day said. "(Germer) had to work hard for his points. We wanted to make it tough for them inside."
Both teams found it tough to score early but a bucket from Germer midway though the stanza, as well as a stellar effort defensively gave the Spartans a 10-2 lead after the opening eight minutes.
"I was just trying to control what I can control," Germer said. "You aren't always going to make all your shots, but you can always get down the floor, hustle and play defense. I just tried to let the game come to me."
Defensively, the Bengals had a solid plan against both Germer and Tony Frohlich-Fair, who was also averaging around 17 ppg, compared to Germer who came into averaging around 19.
Frohlich-Fair was held to just seven but like Germer, he got things going in the second half.
After a slow start, the Bengals finally found some momentum too in the second quarter, scoring 11 points. A 5-0 run by Helena that included a 3-pointer from Dexter Tedesco allowed the home team to get within striking distance at the break, down 21-13.
Yet, Sentinel pulled away in the second half. Germer scored eight of his 14 points, including six in the fourth quarter in addition to seven second-half points from Frolich-Fair.
Austin Zeiler buried a three to spark another 5-0 run in the third that helped counter a bomb from Frohlich-Fair, but the Bengals never got closer than eight in the final quarter and a half.
Brown led the Bengals with 14, matching Germer; Zeiler added seven and Hayden Ferguson had six.
"Until we can find a way to play four quarters of basketball, we are going to have a hard time beating good teams," Day said. "Offensively, I am just overcoaching, calling too many set plays. I need to just let the boys play more. That's my fault.
"But we have to find a way to score more points," He added. "Our defense is giving us a chance to win, we just have to make more shots."
No. 2 Sentinel (7-0) will be back in Helena Saturday to take on fifth-ranked Helena Capital. Helena High (2-5) will travel to Missoula Big Sky Thursday.