BROOMFIELD — Few teams in Colorado's girls prep basketball scene have as strong a closing week as the Holy Family Tigers.
However, on Tuesday night against Fresno State signee Kristina Cavey and 18-win Berthoud, the Tigers showed they're ready to make a statement to the seeding committee come Sunday.
There were four ties and six lead changes in the second half, but Holy Family (17-5, 13-0) dominated the final 5 minutes of play on their home floor for a 61-51 victory and the outright Tri-Valley League championship.
Don't think, however, Thursday's regular season finale against 19-win Windsor is just going to be an afterthought.
"We love that we're getting that experience while a lot of our other friends are beating people by 30 and 40 points," said Holy Family coach Ron Rossi, whose team was led by Casey Griggs' 20 points and Katie Chavez' 17 points and seven assists. "(Blowouts) are not going to make you better; I'm going to have two really good games going into playoffs. We want to end on a nice flurry, get in and see what happens."
With just two losses to Class 4A squads (Longmont, Sand Creek), the Tigers should get a favorable seeding when the brackets are released on Sunday. The first meeting against Berthoud (18-4, 10-3) went a lot more smooth — Holy Family won at BHS 72-51 back on Jan. 22 — but the Tigers buckled down toward the game's final moments.
Tied at 44-44 with 5 minutes, 44 seconds left, Holy Family scored back-to-back baskets that proved to be back-breakers. Leah Schwartz converted an inbound play at 5:32 to make it 46-44, and Griggs made a traditional 3-point play at 5:08 to make it 49-44. Cavey, who finished with 25 points, converted inside to make it 49-46 with 4:46 left, but Holy Family went into a stall-type offense to get the job done.
Cavey fouled out with about 3 minutes left, and Chavez made 8 of 10 free throws down the stretch. RaeAnne Torres and Schwartz also sunk free throws late to help sink the Spartans' upset bid.
"It was a different game, and they took advantage of their height in the blocks, but coach Rossi does a great job of adjusting and we ended up pulling it off," said junior post Sydney Alderfer, who had six points, three blocks and some key rebounds in the second half. "They have some good players. The difference was running our stall effectively, and playing good defense to not let them have easy shots."
"We wanted to be champions and things just worked out. When we have a lead it's tough to beat us, and we run a real good spread delay game," Rossi said. "We want layups and they didn't let us do that at the end because they kept someone home. But we let our free-throw shooters win the game."
Holy Family 61, Berthoud 51
At Holy Family HS
BERTHOUD (18-4, 10-3)
Kristina Cavey 8 7-9 25, Sydney Meis 4 0-2 10, Sydney Kouns 0 0-0 0, Zoe Goreski 1 0-0 2, Maria Fate 1 0-0 2, Sarah Howard 1 0-0 2, Taylor Armitage 4 0-2 10. Totals 19 7-13 51.
HOLY FAMILY (17-5, 13-0)
Katie Chavez 3 11-15 17, Casey Griggs 9 1-1 20, Leah Schwartz 2 4-4 8, Isabelle Hren 4 0-0 8, BreAnna Torres 0 0-0 0, Natalie Gardon 0 0-0 0, Sydney Alderfer 3 0-0 6, RaeAnne Torres 0 2-2 2, Cydney Pittenger 0 0-0 0. Totals 21 18-22 61.
Score by quarters:Berthoud 14 12 14 11 — 51
Holy Family 17 10 13 21 — 61
3-point field goals — Berthoud (6): Cavey 2, Meis 2, Armitage 2; Holy Family (1): Griggs. Fouled out — Cavey.