Girls basketball: Chavez sisters aim to make winning titles family affair

  • DAVID R JENNINGS

    Holy Family point guard Katie Chavez, left, directs the Tigers' offense during a playoff victory over Sheridan last week.

  • DAVID R JENNINGS

    Holy Family's Lindsey Chavez puts in a bucket during a Sweet 16 victory over Sheridan last weekend.

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Whether or not they were a part of the program, every girl on the Holy Family basketball roster is astutely aware of the Tigers’ recent playoff history.

Four consecutive Class 3A state championships followed by, in relative terms, a dud in the postseason last year in the form of a loss in the Sweet 16.

No one is more conscious of this than the Tigers’ two leading scorers, sisters Lindsey and Katie Chavez. Their older sister, Megan, was a member of the last three title-winning squads before falling short her senior year.

“It makes us very hungry,” Lindsey Chavez said.

Lindsey, a junior, mostly was a JV player when the Tigers won their fourth straight in 2011, Megan’s junior year. She has developed into Holy Family’s top scorer (12.9 points a game) as the Tigers await a quarterfinals matchup against Trinidad (8:30 p.m., Thursday, Moby Arena).

Katie Chavez has stepped in as a freshman and guided the Tigers (19-5) from the most difficult position on the floor — point guard. Having a sister who played both guard positions for a perennial champion didn’t hinder the freshman’s quick ascension.

“Having Megan as an older sister always had me thinking that I wanted to grow up like her and be as successful and as talented,” Katie Chavez said. “It always gave me a chance to watch her and learn from her playing. Seeing all the fancy moves that she did, it made me want learn how to do all those things.”

Megan Chavez now plays at Carleton College in Northfield, Minn. She has appeared in 17 games this season, including 12 starts. The Chavez presence is still very much a part of Holy Family basketball, however.

The sisters work together with seemingly innate precision, undoubtedly the product of growing up competing against one another. And the junior has no issues if the freshman occasionally steals the thunder.

“Oh my goodness, she’s talented,” Lindsey Chavez said. “I’m lucky to have her as a point guard. I was lucky with Megan, having her as an older sister and always looking out for me. But with Katie, we look out for each other, both on and off the court, and I love playing with her.”

Said Holy Family coach Ron Rossi: “Her basketball IQ is way up there for a freshman. And she’s still growing as a player.”

With the Chavez sisters in control, the Tigers avoided a repeat of dubious history on Saturday. The tandem combined for 29 points in a 43-28 win against Platte Valley in the Sweet 16 round.

Last season, the top-seeded Tigers were upset by No. 17 Florence in the round of 16 and finished 22-2.

“It’s made us more determined,” Lindsey Chavez said. “We did lose early in the playoffs and it was a disappointment. So we’re ready to get back to it.”

Even though it’s her first season, Katie Chavez feels like a veteran in some ways. She’s essentially been along for the past five years as a fan of her sisters.

“It’s kind of given me a taste of what’s happening and the exciting moments of winning the state championships,” she said. “It makes me want to start winning more and more.”

The Tigers are seeded No. 2 this season, behind only Centauri. A win Thursday would mean a Friday-night battle against the Pagosa Springs vs. Denver School of Science and Technology winner.

Rossi said that all three Chavez sisters have slightly varying styles, with Lindsey’s game “a combination of Megan and Katie.” What’s crystal clear is that the younger two want to catch up to Megan in regards to rings.

“There’s definitely a lot of desire,” Rossi said. “Growing up, they got to see Megan play in Moby gym and have some great games there. They’re real motivated.”

Follow Paul on Twitter: @PaulWillis21