When Lindrey Schendel hit a free throw for the Skyline Falcons that saw them trail the Holy Family Tigers 17-14 midway through the third quarter Tuesday night, a nervous energy was felt in the gym at HFHS. The Tigers, who can win a share of the league title this week, had not found an offensive flow in the slow-paced game and allowed a conference team in the middle of the league standings to hang with them.
Relief came in the form of a 3-pointer made by Genevieve Gudino to push lead back up to six and to score the first points in the second half for the Tigers.
Gudino and Amanda Ward combined for eight of the team's 10 shots made from behind the arc, which proved to be the difference in the 43-33 win over the Falcons on their home floor.
"The last time we played (Skyline), we hit 12 3-pointers on them," Holy Family coach Ron Rossi said. "Maybe they felt psychologically the same magic was going to happen. On that part, we shot the ball well from the 3."
Skyline tried to limit the number of possessions for Holy Family by milking the clock on each offensive possession and work the ball around against the Tigers' zone defense. They were also successful in breaking the full-court press and did not force a high number of turnovers and run outs for easy layups.
The slower pace is one Holy Family is accustomed to seeing from their opponents of late, and they felt prepared to handle the pace of the game again with the Falcons.
"We kind of have to take what the other team throws at us," Ward said. "Every team is out to beat us, so we have to stay strong to our game plan. They might try to change how we play, but we have to stick to the things we know how to do."
Gudino hit three 3-pointers and the team was 5-for-15 from behind the arc in the first half to take the early lead. To counter, Skyline worked inside with their two leading scorers, Schendel and Ashayla Powers, trying to dominate with points in the paint.
The plan worked early, but the 3-point shooting from Holy Family proved to be too much to make up for the Falcons. Holy Family scored 30 of its 43 points from the outside while Skyline was 1-for-3 from 3-point range, getting its only points from Powers on a heave to end the first quarter.
"I think after (Gudino) hit her first 3 (of the second half), it was the snowball rolling down for us," Ward said. "Everyone was hitting their shots. When you're open at the 3, you have to knock it down. Everyone on our team knows that."
Tuesday marked the first test in a busy week that includes playing four games in five days. The Tigers have a final nonconference test Wednesday versus the Evergreen Cougars (22-1), the defending state champions who they beat 58-54 in the regular season last year. The Tigers then travel to face the Mead on Thursday and Berthoud on Saturday.
"It's like an NBA schedule for us," Rossi said. "With four games in five days, we're going to have to keep up the same level. We've played some really good teams, so I know my team will rise to the occasion."
The team is also motivated this busy final week of the season to chase 500 career wins for coach Rossi, who sits at 497 after Tuesday's win.
"500 wins for Rossi would be huge," Ward said. "We have to win the next three games, which would be a really huge boost going into the playoffs. We really want that for our coach. He's amazing and we love him."
Holy Family 43, Skyline 33
At Holy Family High School
SKYLINE (12-10, 7-8)
Ashayla Powers 6 2-2 15, Lindrey Schendel 3 1-2 7, Charlee Neb 2 0-0 4, Jenny Dunder 1 1-2 3, Abbie Anson 0 2-2 2, Molly Hennessy 1 0-2 2. Totals 13 6-11 33.
HOLY FAMILY (15-5, 13-1)
Genevieve Gudino 6 0-0 17, Amanda Ward 3 0-0 9, Alyssa Wells 3 0-0 8, Kaitlyn McKenzie 1 1-3 3, Noelle Gardon 1 0-0 2, Erin Winters 1 0-0 2, Cecilia Aanerus 1 0-2 2. Totals 16 1-5 43.
Score by quarters:Skyline (12-10, 7-8) 11 0 9 13 — 33
3-point field goals — Skyline(1): Powers; Holy Family(10): Gudino 5, Ward 3,Wells 2. Total fouls — Skyline 7, Holy Family 14. Fouled out — None. Technical fouls — None.