FORT COLLINS — Let's face it folks, we live in the ESPN-era of sports and the flashy aspects of the game, especially on the offensive end of the court, get the highlights.
Holy Family coach Pete Villecco has always hung his hat on the defensive end of the court, despite the fact a majority of outsiders can tell you the stars of years past based on their offensive prowess.
On Tuesday night in the opener of the Fort Collins/Poudre Shootout, the Tigers were especially stingy against Thompson Valley, besting the Eagles 53-41 at Fort Collins.
Holy Family (2-0) will play the winner of the Fort Collins/Cheyenne Mountain game on Friday night at 6 p.m. at Poudre.
"That is who we are, no matter who suits up for us we are going to grind away defensively," Villecco said. "Our guys competed on that end tonight.
"We played a really god defensive game last Friday (vs. Niwot) and we sort of built off of that."
Thompson Valley (1-2) scored the first six points of the second quarter to erase a 14-9 Holy Family lead and that 15th point came with 5:30 to play before halftime.
The Eagles wouldn't score again until the 3:53 mark of the third quarter.
"One of our keys tonight was gang-tackling the defensive glass," Villecco said. "We don't have the biggest, most athletic team, but our guys compete."
The Tigers went on a 13-0 run over that same stretch, expanding the floor on the offensive end and getting timely shots from Joe Golter, Andy Nelson and Kyle Helbig.
Thompson Valley tried to keep things close, but every time they would creep back into it, Holy Family — always dangerous at the end of quarter under Villecco over the years — would have an answer. The dagger on Tuesday night belonged to Michael Zeman, who spotted up in the corner and knocked down a buzzer-beating 3-pointer to put the Tigers up 36-22 going to the final quarter.
"We know that reversals corollate to defensive breakdowns, so we really want to touch both sides," Villecco said. "We have a young team and they are learning and we really grew tonight."
Tanner Price scored eight of his game high 12 points in the first quarter. Zeman and Helbig each had 10 for the Tigers.
Thompson Valley's Jake Hornick, who was averaging 23.5 point in the Eagles' first two games, was held to just 12 points and was the only player in double figures for Josh Robinson's team.
HOLY FAMILY 53, THOMPSON VALLEY 41
At Fort Collins H.S.
THOMPSON VALLEY (1-2)
Jeremy Wagonmaker 1 2-2 4, Mitch Zundel 2 0-0 4, Antonio Partida 0 0-0 0, Julian Espinoza 3 0-0 6, Charlie Brunner 4 0-2 8, Jake Hornick 5 2-3 12, Jacob Bosse 1 4-4 6, Joey Shaffer 0 1-2 1, Jared Kasprzak 0 0-0 0. Totals 16 9-13 41.
HOLY FAMILY (2-0)
Joe Golter 4 1-2 9, Andy Nelson 2 0-0 6, Jack Marty 0 0-0 0, Zach Horning 1 0-0 2, Taner Price 4 2-2 12, Michael Zeman 3 3-4 10, Tanner Baird 0 0-0 0, Kyle Helbig 4 2-3 10, Cameron Miller 1 2-2 4. Totals 19 10-13 53.
Score by quarters:Thompson Valley 9 6 7 19 — 41
Holy Family 14 8 14 17 — 53
3-point field goals — Thompson Valley (0): None; Holy Family (5): Nelson 2, Price 2, Zeman. Total fouls — Thompson Valley 15; Holy Family 15.