LONGMONT -- Coach Pete Villecco hesitates a bit when asked to compare his current Holy Family boys basketball team to the one that won the 3A state title two years ago.
"It's different," he said. "The one comparison is that (the championship) team was really balanced. Every night it was a different guy. And this team is pretty balanced. It's a true team, and that 2014 team was a true team as well. We didn't have to rely on one or two guys."
Another similarity is that both Tigers squads rely heavily on their defense. The 2013-14 team allowed just 39.5 points per game against 3A competition en route to a 25-2 record. And this one is pretty stingy as well.
With Friday night's 58-39 victory at Skyline, Holy Family held an opponent under 40 points for the eighth time this season. And now playing a 4A schedule, the Tigers are giving up 44.5 points per contest.
"That's our DNA," Villecco said. "Our kids buy in to playing great team defense. We've gotten better as the year has gone along."
Thanks in good part to that "D" Holy Family held Skyline to 30 percent field-goal shooting on Friday. The Falcons had a particularly tough time around the basket.
"We really go off our defense," said Tigers freshman Kyle Helbig, who scored a game-high 14 points. "We practice it every day and work hard at it."
And it, along with jelling as a team after losing 2015 Tri-Valley League Player of the Year Chris Helbig (Kyle's brother) to a knee injury in football, has paid dividends since the calendar flipped to 2016.
Since Jan. 1, the Tigers have won 10 of 12 games to improve to 13-5 and to 9-1 in Tri-Valley action.
Holy Family, which beat Skyline by 32 points last month, had a tougher go of it this time around. The Tigers led 11-10 after the first period, but went on a 21-9 starting in the second quarter and were never seriously threatened after intermission.
Joining Kyle Helbig in double figures for Holy Family were Joe Golter and Cameron Miller, who posted 10 points each.
"We played hard," first-year Skyline coach Tyler Cerveny said. "Anytime you out-rebound Holy Family by six, you played hard. We got shots we wanted, but we were 10 of 28 at the rim. If you do the math -- and I would say the majority weren't difficult shots -- we're right in that game if we finish at the rim. It's demoralizing when you get to the rim and miss your shot. That's our next step."
The loss dropped Skyline to 9-10 and 5-5 in league action. With three of their four remaining regular-season opponents having losing records, the Falcons still have an opportunity to finish with a season-long winning record for the first time in more than a decade. Their next victory will give SHS 10 wins in a season for the first time since 2009.
On Friday, Skyline was led offensively by senior Matt Dietz, who chalked up 10 points.
Holy Family 58, Skyline 39
HOLY FAMILY (13-5, 9-1)
Golter 4 0-0 10, Nelson 2 0-0 6, Price 1 0-0 2, K. Helbig 7 0-0 14, Miller 4 2-3 10, Marty 1 0-0 2, Horning 2 0-1 4, Zeman 2 3-4 7, Baird 1 1-3 3, Hunter 0 0-0 0. Totals 24 6-11 58.
SKYLINE (9-10, 5-5)
Higgins 1 0-0 3, Blick 2 3-4 8, Angstead 3 2-3 8, Gutierrez 3 0-0 6, Dietz 4 2-4 10, Ekern 1 0-0 3, Alexander 0 1-2 1, Martinez 0 0-0 0. Totals 14 8-13 39.
Score by quarters:Holy Family 11 17 11 19 — 58
Skyline 10 9 10 10 — 39
3-point field goals — Holy Family (4): Golter 2, Nelson 2; Skyline (3): Ekern, Higgins, Blick. Total fouls — Holy Family 18, Skyline 13.
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