BROOMFIELD — With 37 seconds left in a tied game at 42, Holy Family called timeout to draw one final play to win at the buzzer.
With Kyle Helbig sitting at 19 points, it looked to be a play for him when he caught the ball up high and time was counting down. Instead, he passed and the ball eventually ended up in Tanner Baird's hands down low. The senior struggled from the field and could not get a look at the rim with the ball stripped away by a defender.
As the Tigers (5-2) were focused on the ball inside, they didn't see Brett Finegan of Pueblo West streaking down the other end. A long outlet pass to him resulted in a layup with 1.7 seconds remaining to give the Cyclones (6-3) a 44-42 win in Broomfield.
"I thought we worked really hard to keep (Pueblo West) to 44 points," senior Adam Jolly said. "They are a good scoring team, and I thought we played hard on the defensive end. We missed some shots and that's about it."
The final play was to get Baird a shot down low at the end, according to Jolly.
"We were trying to get Tanner (Baird) a good look," Jolly said. "It didn't fall for us."
The final seconds overshadowed the good from the Tigers in the competitive game that went wire-to-wire Friday evening.
Pueblo West delivered the first punch with an 8-0 run to start the game, forcing a quick timeout from Holy Family. Helbig hit a couple of 3-pointers to close the gap and continued to score in the second quarter to keep his team in it. Jolly converted the three-point play to finish the second quarter to keep the Tigers down 19-17.
Jolly's production was critical as Baird was held without a point in the first half and never got into an offensive rhythm for the Tigers.
"I got the ball and scored," Jolly said. "Dom (Nellis) and Kyle (Helbig) got me some good passes. They hit me inside, I just caught it and finished."
Jolly put the Tigers in front with free throws and a layup early in the third and led the team with nine points in the quarter to put Holy Family up by one going into the fourth. The game was either tied or saw Holy Family lead by a slim margin until the final layup from Finegan with 1.7 seconds remaining.
Helbig grabbed 10 rebounds to go with a team-high 19 points in the loss. Finegan led the Cyclones with 18 points, none bigger than his game-winning layup in the fourth quarter. Taylor Harris finished with 15 points for Pueblo West as well.
Frustrations visible after the loss, the Tigers will have to dwell on the defeat over the winter break. The loss will bring an important lesson for the team when they return and begin Tri-Valley League play on Jan. 3 versus the Frederick Warriors (5-2), according to Jolly.
"I think this game is going to be really good for us," Jolly said. "It's going to motivate us to work even harder. I know it's going to motivate Tanner (Baird) to work very hard. We're going to be good when we go into league play."
Pueblo West 44, Holy Family 42
At Holy Family High School
Pueblo West (6-3)
Brett Finegan 7 3-6 18, Taylor Harris 6 0-1 15, Logan Garcia 1 0-0 3, Julian Lucero 1 0-0 3, Alec Cash 1 0-0 2, Nate Denniston 0 2-2 2.
Holy Family (5-2)
Kyle Helbig 7 4-5 19, Adam Jolly 3 8-8 14, Tanner Baird 3 0-0 6, Garrett Green 1 0-0 3.
Score by quarters:Pueblo West (6-3) 13 6 12 13 — 44
Holy Family (5-2) 8 9 15 10—42
3-point field goals — Pueblo West (6): Harris 3, Garcia, Lucero, Finegan; Holy Family (2): Helbig, Green. Total fouls — Pueblo West 10, Holy Family 11.