BROOMFIELD — It was a game the Holy Family Tigers needed to have.
Their recent struggles, especially closing out games, had been a point of emphasis for Tigers coach Pete Villecco and his boys in the recent weeks.
So as fate would have it, the Tigers were locked in tight game with Tri-Valley League leading Mead in the fourth quarter.
And instead of tightening up, Holy Family (9-6 overall, 5-1 Tri-Valley League) stepped on the gas pedal and found a way to win 57-49 and draw even with the Mavericks atop the Tri-Valley League.
"We've definitely had our struggles recently and not closing out games. That Denver South game and the Windsor game, back to back losses, kind of got us down," said Tigers junior Tanner Baird, who finished with 26 points. "I think tonight will really help."
It was a 43-41 game early in the fourth, when Holy Family went on a 10-0 run that was sparked by a little controversy.
After consecutive baskets from Adam Jolly and Kyle Helbig, made it 47-41, the Holy Family defense created a turnover on the defensive end and it lead to a breakaway that Jolly, who played a whale of a game on both ends (scoring 13 points and defending a much bigger Mavericks post) was able to get out ahead of Mead's KJ Jacobs was right behind him and fouled him hard into the padding behind the basket.
It was initially called a regular foul, but the officials conferred and change it to an intentional foul that gave the Tigers the fouls shots and the ball back.
"Especially the way the crowd got hyped," Baird said. "That was big for us and being able to feed off of them and get that extra possession was huge."
Said Mead coach Darin Reece, whose team hadn't been called for an intentional foul all season, but were called for two on Friday night: "That was a tough one, but ultimately the difference in the game from start to finish was the little things. They were first to the floor on just about every opportunity and (Jolly) did a great job on the offensive glass."
Baird set the tone early on, scoring nine of his 26 in the first quarter. The Tigers were balanced offensively after Baird, getting 13 from Jolly and nine from Kyle Helbig.
Mead (9-6, 5-1) closed the gap in the third behind Jax Wilke, who scored 10 of his team high 14 in the quarter. The Mavericks, who had a considerable size advantage, just couldn't find any sort of flow on the offensive end down the stretch.
"(Holy Family) has always had tough kids and they have always played well against us and that's a credit to the kids and the coaching staff," Reece said. "They aren't going to be intimidated by us and frankly we need to be a little more physical with our size and do a better job of using it."
HOLY FAMILY 57, MEAD 49
At Holy Family
MEAD (9-6, 5-1)
Ayers 0 0-0 0, Jacobs 3 2-5 9, Maher 3 0-0 8, Wilhelm 2 0-3 4, Ward 2 0-0 5, Lee 1 0-0 2, Edwards 1 0-0 2, Wilke 6 1-1 14, Jacobs 2 0-0 5. Totals 20 3-9 49.
HOLY FAMILY (9-6, 5-1)
Nellis 2 0-0 4, Helbig 4 1-3 9, Becker 0 0-0 0, Baird 9 7-9 26, Pfenning 1 0-0 2, Sanders 0 0-0 0, Jolly 5 3-4 13, Hunter 0 0-0 0, Doroff 1 0-0 3. Totals 22 11-16 57.
Score by quarters:Mead1591411—49
3-point field goals — Mead (6): Maher 2, Jacobs, Ward, Wilke, Jacobs; Holy Family (2): Baird, Doroff. Total fouls — Mead 10; Holy Family 13.