Nixyaawii defeats Helix 53-38 in boys Big Sky basketball play Friday

With Ashton Picard and Joe Crawford leading the way, the Golden Eagles cruise past the Grizzlies 53-38 in Helix.

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Helix's Logan Swaggart (right) tangles arms with Nixyaawii's Ashton Picard and manages to dislodge the ball as they fight for possession under the basket Friday night in Helix. The Golden Eagles defeated the Grizzlies 53-38.

HELIX - Nixyaawii center Ashton Picard led the charge with 12 points, seven boards and three blocked shots against Helix here Friday night and the Golden Eagles caged the Grizzlies 53-38 in a Big Sky Conference Eastern Division basketball game.

"Picard is so big on the inside that the shots that he doesn't block, he can still alter," Nixyaawii coach Aaron Noisey said.

Joe Crawford was another force for the Golden Eagles as he finished with a game-high 18 points and added six boards and six steals.

"All of the seven guys that we had did a good job tonight," Noisey said. "All of them in uniform had a solid game."

Nixyaawii was three players short, according to Noisey, due to an injury and disciplinary action.

Isaiah Case had 13 points, seven rebounds and three steals for the Golden Eagles.

In total, Nixyaawii had 13 steals and forced 22 turnovers with full-court defensive pressure.

"We take pride in our defense," Noisey said. "The knock on us the last couple of years has been that we don't play good defense. But if you look at the turnovers we cause, then you would think otherwise."

The story of the game was that defensive pressure in the first half along with Nixyaawii's fast-paced offense.

The Golden Eagles jumped out on the Grizzlies 19-5 in the first quarter and Helix never was able to fully recover.

Picard scored eight points in the first quarter and Crawford dropped in seven to lead the Eagles.

Case picked up the scoring in the second quarter with seven of the team's 13 points.

The halftime score was 32-10 Golden Eagles.

The Grizzlies finally got untracked offensively in the second half.

Tyler Bushman was the Grizzlies' scoring leader for the game with 15 points, and he contributed eight rebounds. Riley Sederburg finished with eight points and seven rebounds.

"We played better in the second half," Helix coach Gene Heliker said. "We were able to move the ball around better and get everyone involved.

"We passed the ball around better on the interior, bigs to bigs, which is hard to do. We have always been able to pass the ball around the perimeter well."

Helix turned the ball over 22 times in the game compared to Nixyaawii's 10 turnovers.

NIXYAAWII (53) - Bonifer 2 0-0 4, Jones 0 0-0 0, Wilson 1 0-0 2, Crawford 8 1-1 18, Case 6 0-0 13, Picard 6 0-4 12, McKay 1 1-2 3. Totals 24 2-7 53

HELIX (38) - Bushman 7 1-2 15, Sherman 1 1-2 3, Swaggert 1 1-2 4, Allen 0 0-0 0, Seederburg 4 0-0 8, Sundin 3 0-0 7. Totals 16 3-6 38

Helix 5 5 14 14 - 38

Nixyaawii 19 13 12 9 - 53

3-point goals - Nixyaawii (Crawford, Case), Helix (Sundin). Total fouls - Helix 10, Nixyaawii 7. Fouled out - none. Technical fouls - none. Rebounds - Helix 27 (Bushman 8), Nixyaawii 25 (Picard 7, Case 7). Turnovers - Helix 22, Nixyaawii 10.

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