The Helena-West Helena Central Cougars (9-1) and the Lady Cougars (9-1) both got big wins on the second day of the Helena-West Helena Invitational, sponsored by the Helena-West Helena Advertising & Promotion Commission, and moved into championship games Friday night .

The Helena-West Helena Central Cougars (9-1) and the Lady Cougars (9-1) both got big wins on the second day of the Helena-West Helena Invitational, sponsored by the Helena-West Helena Advertising & Promotion Commission, and moved into championship games Friday night .

The Lady Cougars took down the much larger Mitchell High School from Memphis by a score of 71-58. The game was tight until late when Helena-West Helena pulled away. At the end of the first quarter, the two teams were knotted at 11-11.

With 3:46 to go in the first half and Helena-West Helena trailing 18-17 after a 7-0 run by the Lady Tigers, Mitchell fouled Tara Green. Mitchell was immediately assessed a technical foul. After the Lady Cougars made three of the four free throws and scored a basket to make it a five point possession, Helena-West Helena was back in front 22-18 and would never trail again.

CHS led 26-22 at the intermission and opened the half with a six quick points from J’Tyia Thomas to push the lead to 32-24 just 49 seconds into the third quarter. Helena-West Helena pushed the lead into double figures when Thomas rebounded her own missed free throw and hit a layup to make the score 41-31 with 4:06 to go in the third.

However, on the ensuing possession, Thomas picked up her fourth foul. Without the team’s leading scorer, Kerra Trancy managed the offense at the point guard position and the Cougars pounded the ball inside to Tara Green, who scored to increase the Helena-West Helena lead to 12 at 45-33 with 1:31 to go in the period.

However, Mitchell would not go quietly, the Lady Tigers from the Bluff City would not go quietly. After cutting the lead to eight by the end of the third at 45-37, Mitchell closed the lead to four at 50-46 on a steal and score with 4:58 remaining. But the Lady Tigers would get no closer, and Helena-West Helena cruised to the 13-point win.

Thomas led the Lady Cougars with 39 points. Green added 21. The Lady Cougars took on Class 5A Little Rock Christian Friday in the girls championship game.

The Cougars dispatched the Dollarway Cardinals with ease by a score of 68-44. Dollarway led by a score of 4-1 early in the first as the Cougars started slow. The Cougars didn’t hit a shot from the floor until the 4:35 mark in the first quarter when Quanderius Sanders hit a three to tie the game at 4-4. With 3:54 remaining, Kamone Acklin put the Cougars in front 6-4 and Helena-West Helena would not trail again.

By the end of the first, when Jacquavian Jackson hit a three as the clock was winding down, the Cougars had pushed the lead into double digits at 17-6.

The Cougars continued to pour it on in the second and had pushed the lead to 42-22 at the intermission. Dollarway never got closer than 16 points in the second half and the Cougars cruised to the big win. Jackson and Brian Miller led the Cougars with 11 points each. Michael Boone added 10.

The Cougars were to take on Marvell Friday night for the championship of the tournament. Marvell defeated Marianna 73-52. The Mustangs led 21-17 at the end of the first and pushed that lead to 35-19 with a 14-2 run to start the second period. But Marianna closed the gap to 10 at 37-27 at the intermission.

The second half was all Marvell. It was 59-37 at the end of the third and the Mustangs cruised to the 21-point victory. Deondre Arnold led the Mustangs with 19. Tye and O. J. Johnson added 17 apiece.