BROOMFIELD — They call Disneyland the happiest place on earth, but the Holy Family girls basketball team might disagree. For the Tigers, that place may be Moby Arena in Fort Collins.
That’s certainly the venue where the program has established its legacy of success, winning four 3A state titles in the past five seasons.
And now the Tigers will return to the Colorado State campus in pursuit of another championship.
After being unexpectedly ousted in the Sweet 16 at home last year, Holy Family maneuvered around a similar potential pothole on Saturday. In their home finale, the Tigers broke open a close game in the second half to defeat Platte Valley 43-28 and land a berth in the state quarterfinals at Moby.
It’s the sixth time in seven seasons that Holy Family has made it to the 3A Elite Eight. The Tigers won state titles from 2008 through 2011, going 102-5 over that four-year stretch.
“It’s really amazing,” Holy Family freshman Katie Chavez said after scoring a game-high 16 points Saturday. “All these emotions are going through me. I’m just excited to play there.”
In Thursday’s Elite Eight, the second-seeded Tigers (19-5) will meet seventh-seeded Trinidad (20-4). The Miners topped No. 10 Sterling 46-41 on Saturday.
In its round-of-16 victory, Holy Family led just 25-23 late in the third quarter against 18th-seeded Platte Valley. But some lockdown defense combined by outstanding free-throw shooting by the Chavez sisters changed the complexion of the game.
The Tigers held Platte Valley to four points in the final period, while Katie and older sister Lindsey Chavez provided all the fourth-quarter offense for Holy Family. Katie scored nine points and Lindsey five of the Tigers’ 14 in the final eight minutes.
“I love playing with my little sister,” Lindsey said. “Last year I played with my older sister (Megan). And they’re both point guards. I love it. We always have good chemistry together. We seem to just look at each other and know what the other is doing.”
Lindsey Chavez finished with 13 points Saturday and she and Katie combined to make 17 of 19 free throws. They went 12 of 13 in the fourth quarter, with Katie adding a field goal.
On the other end of the court, Holy Family held Platte Valley to just six made shots from the field on Saturday. In the pivotal fourth quarter, the Broncos went 2 for 9 from the field and turned over the ball five times.
“The best offense (comes from) defense, and I think that’s what really sparked us and lit a fire under us,” said Lindsey Chavez, a junior.
And although it took some mental fortitude, the Tigers avoided a repeat of last year’s playoffs, when they fell at home to 17th-seeded Florence.
“I think we had a big weight on our shoulders” as a result of that game, coach Ron Rossi said. “I think we felt the cloud from last year. But we played a very good defensive game against this team (on Saturday).”
So now it’s back to Moby Arena, where Rossi’s teams have enjoyed so much success over the years. Most of the current players haven’t yet had that pleasure, but they’re looking forward to it, particularly after having won 12 of their last 13 games.
“We are excited,” Lindsey Chavez said. “We’re a young team. We lost seven seniors last year. And the fact that we’re all new, we’re loving it. We love the attention.”
Holy Family 43, Platte Valley 28
At Holy Family HS
PLATTE VALLEY (14-10)
V. Zehnder 1 6-6 8, A. Zehnder 3 4-6 10, Seyler 1 2-5 5, Beach 1 1-2 3, Ritchey 0 0-0 0, Buttolph 0 1-2 1, Rios 0 0-0 0, Mix 0 0-0 0, Montes 0 1-2 1, Gonzales 0 0-0 0. Totals 6 15-23 28.
HOLY FAMILY (19-5)
K. Chavez 3 9-9 16, L. Chavez 2 8-10 13, Stokes 0 3-7 3, Silverstein 1 0-0 2, Jaros 0 2-2 2, Quinn 0 0-0 0, McGillin 1 0-0 2, Spitzer 0 0-0 0, Blanchard 1 0-0 2, Pena 1 1-2 3, Talamantes 0 0-0 0. Totals 9 23-30 43.
Score by quarters:
Platte Valley 8 8 8 4 — 28
Holy Family 8 10 11 14 — 43
3-point field goals — Platte Valley (1): Seyler; Holy Family (2): K. Chavez, L. Chavez. Total fouls — Platte Valley 22, Holy Family 18. Fouled out — none. Technical fouls –none.