BROOMFIELD — It lived up to the hype.
Both No. 1 Holy Family and No. 2 Colorado Academy entered Wednesday night’s Metro League game without a loss and neither had really been tested down to the wire all season.
In front on a raucous crowd and with a distinct playoff atmosphere, Holy Family held on for a 64-60 win to improve their record to 16-0 overall and 6-0 in the league.
“That atmosphere just elevates us so much and I’m so proud of our fans for the turnout and for cheering us on,” said 6-foot-4 junior Austin Brown, who finished with 10 points. “And I’m proud of our seniors, they played so well tonight and their leadership is a big reason for the success we are having.”
Like a boxer in a title fight, the Tigers found out they could take a punch. With Holy Family leading 30-23 at the half, Colorado Academy (13-1, 5-1) came out of the locker room and promptly scored the first 10 points to go up 33-30.
Sophomore sensations Jack Buckmelter (18 points), Christian Hyatt (14 points) and Justin Bassey (23 points) had the Mustangs fans on their feet and the Tigers looking for a quick fix.
Coach Pete Villecco rallied his Tigers and they responded with a 16-0 run to go up 46-33.
“We always say ‘Next play.” We always say play in the present and that’s what we said in that timeout,” Villecco said. “It’s a game of runs and they made their run, we are going to have a poker face and go make our run.”
The Tigers opened the lead to 59-45 in the fourth quarter on back-to-back dunks from Ryan Willis and David Sommers, who earlier in the day committed to play football at the Colorado School of Mines.
“I put in a lot of work over the summer after tearing my ACL last season, and I got a lot from that,” said Willis, whose baseline drive and slam capped his scoring night with 12 points off the bench. “We knew they were going to play an aggressive man defense from the beginning and we had a couple of counters with our offensive plays.”
Colorado Academy didn’t go away and cut the lead to 60-55 with 1 minute, 4 seconds to play on a Buckmelter driving layup. After Brown hit one free throw, Hyatt made it a one-possession game with 17.2 seconds left when he hit a long 3-pointer.
With 13.4 seconds left, Helbig hit 1 of 2 free throws to make it a 62-58 game. Buckmelter came right back down an answered with another layup, but the savvy Tigers, with the clock running — much to the dismay of a few CA parents– inbounded the ball quickly to Helbig, who was fouled with 0.9 seconds to play and hit both free throws.
“We are going to take a lot from this game. We learned that we can take a punch or two,” Villecco said. “We also learned that we have to be a little bit smarter in the last few minutes of the game. This is the first close game we’ve played in a while, so their is a lot we can take away from this game.”
The Tigers are off until Monday, when they travel to play The Pinnacle in a non-league game at 7 p.m.
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Holy Family 64, Colorado Academy 60
At Holy Family
COLORADO ACADEMY (13-1, 5-1)
Jack Buckmelter 7 1-318, Chris Kuelling 1 0-0 3, Christian Hyatt 5 3-4 14, Andrew Parker 1 0-1 2, Justin Bassey 9 1-1 23, Trevor Pratt 0 0-0 0. Totals 23 5-9 60.
HOLY FAMILY (16-0, 6-0)
Chris Helbig 6 5-9 17, Alex Comeaux 1 1-3 3, Luke Golter 2 0-0 5, David Sommers 3 1-3 7, Ryan Willis 5 1-2 12, Austin Brown 4 2-5 10, Devlin Granberg 2 4-5 8, Nick Kreutzer 1 0-0 2. Totals 24 14-27 64.
Score by quarters:
Colorado Academy 5 18 14 23 — 60
Holy Family 10 20 17 17 — 64
3-point field goals — Colorado Academy (9): Bassey 4, Buckmelter 3, Kuelling, Hyatt; Holy Family (2): L. Golter, Willis. Total fouls — Colorado Academy 20; Holy Family 13. Fouled out — Hyatt; L. Golter. Technical fouls — Hyatt.