BROOMFIELD — After 20 wins and a Tri-Valley League regular season championship for the Holy Family boys basketball team, there was good reason for Tigers coach Pete Villecco to trust in the ability of his guys to knock down shots on Wednesday night.
To add to that, beating Golden in the Class 4A Sweet 16 wasn't going to happen inside with the Demons' height.
In a shooter's game that was a rematch of a 60-53 Holy Family win back on December 3, it was not the Tigers night on its home floor. The driven Demons raced to an early led that held up for the duration of play to move on to the Great 8 with a 57-31 victory.
Sophomore Kyle Helbig started off great with 10 points in the first quarter, but he could not sustain the pace and his teammates on this particular night had a hard time supporting him. Holy Family, a team that averages 62 points a go and shot nearly 48 percent for the year from the floor, went just 11-for-48 on Wednesday night.
"We ran into a Golden team that played really well tonight, and they were a big reason why we didn't make shots," Villecco said. "I have to give a ton of credit to them. They had length that bothered us and you just have to give credit to a team that was way better than us tonight."
As far as making shots, yes, Golden (18-7) was better than most teams on average in a prep game. Led by Joe Madsen, Adam Thistlewood and Kayden Sund, the Demons went 10-for-18 from the floor in the first half and, even though they were up just eight points at 24-16, had put Holy Family on notice.
Those three players were just good enough in the third quarter to keep Golden's lead at 34-24 entering the fourth frame, and from there it was a team effort of free throws (hitting 15 of 22), ball-handling (just three turnovers) and rebounding (14-5 in the quarter and 30-18 for the game) to seal the win.
Madsen had 11 points but was effective at blocking shots early, further driving Holy Family away from the basket on most possessions. Thistlewood had 16 and Sund added 14 for Golden, which will play Evergreen in the next round.
"We really wanted to lift-fake them and try and get to the line but again it was just something where their length bothered us. It was a struggle to score all night," said Villecco, whose team was led by Helbig's 17. "We wanted to stop Thistlewood, and he's just a heck of a player. He made some plays."
Wednesday marked the final game for seniors Joe Golter, Tanner Price, Michael Zeman and Cameron Miller.
"It was an honor to coach the seniors ... characters as quality as you could find," Villecco said. "And they were tough, tough kids."
Golden 57, Holy Family 31
At Holy Family HS
Moore 1 3-5 6, Simon 0 0-0 0, Stoner 1 0-0 2, Guerra 1 0-0 2, Niss 0 1-2 1, Madsen 4 3-3 11, Thistlewood 5 5-5 16, Anderson 0 0-2 0, Mulligan 1 1-3 3, Sund 5 3-4 14, O'Connell 0 2-2 2. Totals 18 18-26 57.
HOLY FAMILY (20-5)
Nellis 0 0-0 0, Helbig 6 3-4 17, Golter 0 1-2 1, Baird 2 0-0 4, Pfenning 0 0-0 0, Kinoti 0 0-0 0, Sanders 0 0-0 0, Price 0 0-0 0, Zeman 1 0-0 3, Jolly 0 0-0 0, Miller 2 1-2 5, Hunter 0 1-2 1. Totals 11 6-10 31.
Score by quarters:Golden 16 8 10 23 — 57
Holy Family 12 4 10 5 — 31
3-point field goals — Golden (3): Moore, Thistlewood, Sund; Holy Family (3): Helbig 2, Zeman. Fouled out — Stoner. Technical fouls — Hunter.