BROOMFIELD - Who wants to look foolish in elimination basketball? Not Holy Family. The Tigers prepped for Saturday night's Class 4A second-round home game against feisty Falcon as if they were going to take their law boards.
Seriously, coach Pete Villecco and his guys wanted to take no chances. They travelled this past Wednesday to view the Falcons' 14-point decision of Green Mountain in the preliminaries. Villecco said the feeling they got while driving home was the Falcons could definitely play, so practice and preparation were going to be musts.
And it worked.
The Tigers put forth a complete effort in taking a 71-47 waxing of Falcon that will carry them into Wednesday's Sweet 16 round. They will host Jefferson County's Golden, which beat 4A regular power Longmont 53-43, on Wednesday at either 6 or 7 p.m. Now 20-4 on the season and having won 11 games in succession, the Tigers' mood was upbeat and they can't wait to begin preparation again.
"Our energy was off the charts to start," Villecco said. "Our kids were ready to go. We knew the pace of play was going to be important."
It was and Holy Family took command of it. The Tigers grabbed early leads of 18-8 and 34-19 in enjoying a open buffet line of sound play, including ball movement, passing and defense.
And even when the Falcons came up with two mini rallies to stay within range, Holy Family responded, including when the Falcons, who ended 12-13, managed to step up the pace and use it to their advantage. The Tigers simply took it right back.
"We wanted to attack them early in the possession or late in the possession." Villeco said. "If we didn't have a quick strike, we wanted to make them guard."
The Falcons, who have only two seniors, weren't able to handle Holy Family's ball movement. Four Tigers reached double figures in scoring, led by sophomore Tanner Baird's 18 points.
"(The Falcons) definitely turned the pressure on in the second half, which kind of put us into some bad positions," Baird said. "They cut it to 10, but I thought we handled it well."
Senior Joe Golter added 17 points, 13 in the first half, and said "we came out with a lot of energy and passion. We had a good week of practice and I think that showed. And I think our defense was good."
The Tigers had success inside on defense and cut off more than one driving and passing lane.
Even sophomore Kyle Helbig, one of the tallest sophomores at 6-3, led multiple fast breaks in handling the Falcon press as Holy Family also regularly got to the rim in attaining balance.
"We have a lot of guys who can score and we had good, solid play all the way around," said Helbig, who totaled 14 points.
Cameron Miller added 10 points as Villecco said "we were getting layups and taking great shots, I thought."
Holy Family 71, Falcon 47
At Holy Family
Ballage 2 0-0 4, Hernandez 1 1-2 3, Daniels 5 1-2 11, Martinez 2 1-2 5, LaRose 0 0-0 0, Palmer 1 0-0 2, Warren 5 1-2 12, Brown 3 1-1 7, Royx 0 0-0 0, Smit 1 1-3 3. Totals 20 6-12 47.
Helbig 4 5-6 14, Baird 7 2-2 18, Golter 6 3-4 17, Zeman 2 2-3 6, Miller 5 0-0 10, Price 1 1-2 4, Sanders , 0 0-0 0, Hunter 1 0-0 2, Kinoti 0 0-0 0, Sanders 0 0-0 0, Nellis 0 0-0 0. Totals 26 13-17 71.
Score by quarters:Falcon 8 11 16 12 — 47
Holy Family 18 16 13 24 — 71
3-point field goals — Warren; Baird 2, Golter 2, Helbig, Price. Fouled out — none. Technical fouls — none.