BROOMFIELD — Don't let the Holy Family girls basketball girls basketball team's record fool you — the Tigers are a solid squad.
It's just that the Holy Family girls have spent the first two weeks of the 2018-19 season battling their way through perhaps the toughest schedule of any Class 4A team in the state of Colorado.
On Friday night their gauntlet of a non-conference schedule took its biggest swing at the Tigers when Regis Jesuit, which is currently ranked No. 25 in the nation by MaxPreps.com, came to Broomfield and put a 71-39 pounding on the Tigers. But this calamitous stretch to open the season is not a coincidence.
"That's why I made a tough schedule," Tigers head coach Ron Rossi said. "We're a good team. We want to be a great team. To be a great team, you've got to learn how to play with great teams."
Ranked sixth in Class 4A in the latest CHSAANow.com poll, Holy Family (2-3) has only played two unranked teams and has played just one team in its own classification so far. The three teams the Tigers have lost to have a combined record of 15-1.
In their season opener, the Tigers lost to 4A No. 3 Air Academy. That loss preceded a defeat at the hand of 5A No. 7 Valor Christian. Holy Family won its next two games against 5A opponents in Castle View and Lakewood before falling to Regis Jesuit on Friday.
With a week off but still gluttons for punishment, the Tigers will take on 4A No. 1 Pueblo West next Friday before beginning their Tri-Valley League schedule with a road game at Frederick.
Against the visiting Raiders (6-0), the Tigers found themselves at an even bigger disadvantage than expected when senior point guard Kaitlyn McKenzie left the game in the first quarter with a head injury she sustained diving for a loose ball.
The Tigers' trademark full-court press struggled against the talented Regis Jesuit guards, and star player Fran Belibi — who is known nationally as the first girls basketball player to dunk in Colorado preps history and made national news two nights before when she dunked in the Raiders' win over No. 1-ranked defending 5A state champion Grandview — scored 25 points. When the Tigers' match-up zone collapsed on the Raiders' post players, Regis Jesuit hit five 3-pointers in the first half to pull ahead for a 45-25 halftime lead.
"It really sucks when your point guard leaves after 30 seconds because I really had to scramble," Rossi said. "But that is one good team. They have just so many weapons. We tried to play some junk defense and, sure enough, the girl who hasn't hit a three hits two in the first quarter. I was proud of the kids. They never gave up. They played hard.
"I've got eight sophomores on this team and this was really a learning experience. That's why I scheduled it because we just want to get better. The only way to get better is to play better teams."
Tigers sophomore Genavieve Gudino, who filled in for McKenzie at point guard, led the Tigers with 14 points.
Regis Jesuit 71, Holy Family 39
At Holy Family H.S.
REGIS JESUIT (6-0)
Belibi 11 3-7 25, McHugh 0 0-0 0, S. Wiegand 4 2-2 13, Mulbarger 0 0-0 0, VanSickle 3 0-0 8, G. Wiegand 3 4-7 10, East 0 0-0 0, Moore 1 1-2 3, Janes 5 1-2 11. Totals 27 11-20 71.
HOLY FAMILY (2-3)
McKenzie 0 0-0 0, Gudino 6 0-1 14, Thomas 0 0-0 0, Sanders 0 2-2 2, Wells 2 0-0 5, Gardon 1 0-0 2, Whitlock 0 1-2 1, Ward 4 0-0 11, Winters 0 0-0 0, Aanerud 2 0-0 4. Totals 15 3-5 39.
Score by quarters:Regis Jesuit 25 19 17 8 — 71
3-point field goals — Regis Jesuit (5): S. Wiegand 3, VanSickle 2; Holy Family (6): Ward 3, Gudino 2, Wells. Total fouls — Regis Jesuit 12, Holy Family 18. Fouled out — Aanerud.