COLORADO SPRINGS — Katie Chavez, Isabelle Hren and Casey Griggs combined for 57 points Friday night to lead Holy Family to a 66-52 victory over Mesa Ridge in a Class 4A quarterfinals playoff game.
The Great Eight victory in the Donald Wilson region means the Tigers (20-6) move onto the Final Four, where they will meet Valor Christian (25-1) Thursday at the University of Colorado's Coors Events Center in nearby Boulder.
Valor Christian was the state runner-up a year ago, knocking Holy Family out of the playoffs in the quarterfinals.
But before the Tigers set their sights on a rematch with Valor Christian, they took time to relish the win over a powerful Mesa Ridge team that was held to a season-low 29 points through three quarters.
"We knew this was going to be a hard game tonight, especially since they're so tall and they had the height advantage, but we came in thinking we were going to expose their weaknesses and capitalize on our strengths, which is our running game and transition," said Chavez, who scored 15 of her game-high 26 points in the fourth quarter. "That's exactly what everybody did and we stepped up and did what we had to do."
Chavez converted 13 of 18 free throw attempts. The only other Tiger to attempt free throws was Hren, who made 5 of 8 on her way to 18 points.
From the opening tap, Holy Family dictated the pace of the game. The Tigers raced up and down the court, usually making one or two passes before somebody pulled up for a jumper or maneuvered their way inside for an acrobatic layup.
Quick ball movement, coupled with an effective 2-3 zone, helped Holy Family build a 15-7 lead with 1:06 remaining in the first quarter.
Mesa Ridge (24-2, the No. 2 overall seed in the tournament) stormed back, however, to take a 19-17 advantage with 4:14 remaining in the second quarter on a Chloe Welch layup. That turned out to be the Grizzlies' only lead of the game as Holy Family, the No. 7 overall seed, stuck to its game plan and took a 26-21 lead into the locker room.
Almost lost in the action was Mesa Ridge senior Kylee Shook. The 6-foot-5 Louisville-bound McDonald's All-American was held to a season-low 16 points on 7 of 19 shooting. Shook was averaging nearly 28 points per game. She missed her only free throw attempt.
"We knew what a great player she was, and we just flexed our zone to stop her," said Griggs, who scored 13 points. "During the game we gave everything we had and we really just left it all out on the court."
Added Chavez: "This entire journey has not been an easy walk. This is only making us better for when we play in the Final Four, and hopefully in the championship game."
Holy Family continued to build upon its lead in the second half, going up 45-29 early in the fourth quarter on a Chavez layup.
Mesa Ridge chipped away at the lead, eventually pulling within 54-49 on an Ashley Bowen jumper with 2:25 remaining.
The Tigers scored the next nine points to put the game on ice.
"Our kids have had success and we believe that tradition never graduates," said Holy Family coach Ron Rossi, who led his team to six 3A state championships in seven season from 2008 through 2014. "One of our goals to start the season was to get to CU and play in the Final Four. Anything can happen in the Final Four."
Holy Family is on a roll having won 17 of its last 20 games.
"Valor Christian knocked us out last year, so we'll be ready," Rossi said.
Holy Family 66, Mesa Ridge 52
At Mesa Ridge High School
HOLY FAMILY (20-6)
Katie Chavez 5 13-18 26, Casey Griggs 5 0-0 13, Leah Schwartz 2 0-0 5, Isabelle Hren 6 5-8 18, Sydney Alderfer 2 0-0 4. Totals 20 18-26 66..
MESA RIDGE (24-2)
Chloe Welch 3 1-4 7, Robyon Smith 2 0-0 5, Britanie Olsen 4 0-0- 12, Tajuanna Perkins 1 0-0 2, Kylee Shook 7 0-1 16, Ashley Bowen 5 0-0 10. Totals 22 1-5 52.
Score by quarters:Holy Family 17 9 17 23 — 66
Mesa Ridge 11 10 8 23 — 52
3-point field goals — Holy Family (8): Chavez 3, Griggs 3, Schwartz 1, Hren 1. Mesa Ridge (7): Olsen 4, Shook 2, Smith 1. Total fouls — Holy Family 13; Mesa Ridge 25.
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