BROOMFIELD — It’s a good thing they don’t award style points after basketball games.
Holy Family was far from crisp offensively on Wednesday night against Kent Denver, but the Tigers’ defense more than held up its end of the bargain.
The Tigers capped off the regular season with a 52-35 win over the Sun Devils and in the process captured their first Metropolitan League crown since 2003.
“This is nice, but we have got to look forward because if you lose now, you don’t get too many more opportunities,” said sophomore guard Chris Helbig, who came off the bench to lead the Tigers with 12 points. “We are going to have to make the most of every opportunity and come out strong every game.”
In a classy move by coach Pete Villecco and his staff — and with a league championship on the line — Holy Family (on senior night) started its five seniors — including Tim Kinoti, sixth-man Ryan Willis, and Brennon Lee.
They didn’t miss a beat.
Holy Family (18-1 overall, 8-1 in league) outscored Kent Denver 16-2 in the first quarter and forced the youthful and revamped state runner-up to play catch-up the rest of the night.
It was Kinoti who jump-started the offense with a silky-smooth jumper from the corner, something that made Villecco beam.
“Tim Kinoti is such a phenomenal kid and he more than deserved that opportunity,” Villecco said. “He has done a lot for the program. You know there are times when he may not get his opportunities because there are other guys in front of him, but I couldn’t be more happy for Tim.”
The Tigers knew they had to buckle down on defense, especially after the loss last Friday to Jefferson Academy, and they made the Sun Devils work for their 35 points. Yes, they had some open looks, but all in all it was an effort that echoed what the coaches had on the big board before the game.
“We had to get back to our ways of playing Holy Family defense and playing a little angry,” Villecco said. “We wanted our guys to play like junkyard dogs and the five seniors that we started, they really set a tone in that first quarter.”
Said longtime Kent Denver coach Todd Schayes, whose team dropped to 10-8 overall and 2-6 in the league: “Their success is predicated on their defense and it certainly was evident tonight. Other than us making it to the state tournament, I am a big Tigers fan for them to win the state championship.”
Holy Family didn’t shoot the ball particularly well, but the balanced attack made it appear less glaring than it really was. After Helbig’s 12 points, Luke Golter came off the bench and added 10 and David Sommers chipped in with nine.
Kent Denver senior Michael Hanley paced the Sun Devils with 12 points and lanky freshman Max Mehlman came off the bench, showed off his long range shooting prowess, and finished with 10.
Follow Jon on Twitter at twitter.com/JonEYunt
Holy Family 52, Kent Denver 35
At Holy Family
KENT DENVER (10-8, 2-6)
Robby Dunn 0 0-0 0, Nikolai Arnold 0 0-0 0, Anders Soderberg 1 0-0 2, Will Bullock 0 0-0 0, Cole Hoholik 0 0-0 0, Grant Bartholomew 1 0-0 2, Max Mehlman 4 0-0 10, Taylor Bennett 1 0-0 3, Joe Matarazzo 1 0-0 3, Matt Wells 1 0-2 2, Michael Hanley 4 3-3 12, Rob Casey 1 0-0 2. Totals 13 5-9 35.
HOLY FAMILY (18-1, 7-1)
Chris Helbig 5 2-3 12, Tim Kinoti 1 0-0 2, Alex Comeaux 1 0-0 2, Luke Golter 4 0-0 10, David Sommers 3 3-5 9, Ryan Willis 2 0-0 4, Brennon Lee 0 0-0 0, Austin Brown 2 1-2 5, Devlin Granberg 2 2-2 6, Nick Kreutzer 1 0-0 2. Totals 21 8-12 52.
Score by quarters:
Kent Denver 2 13 11 9 — 35
Holy Family 16 11 13 12 — 52
3-point field goals — Kent Denver (4): Mehlman 2, Bennett, Hanley; Holy Family (2): L. Golter 2. Total fouls — Kent Denver 14; Holy Family 10.