Boys basketball: No. 3 Holy Family wins close one at No. 8 Centaurus

  • Jeremy Papasso / Staff Photographer

    Holy Family's Tanner Baird , center, goes up for a shot on Wednesday against Centaurus.

  • Jeremy Papasso / Staff Photographer

    Holy Family's Adam Jolly puts up on shot against the Centaurus defense on Wednesday.



LAFAYETTE — Tanner Baird and Kyle Helbig came into Wednesday’s game averaging 31 points combined for the No. 3 ranked Holy Family Tigers. In the first half against the No. 8 ranked Centaurus Warriors on the road, they were held in check and combined for four points in the first two quarters.

The two seniors would be held below their averages for the season, but other contributions and just enough defense helped the Tigers edge the Warriors 46-43 in a top-10 showdown.

“I’m pleased with the grit we showed,” Holy Family coach Pete Villecco said. “We didn’t play our best and Centaurus is a good team. We knew it would be hard to score tonight and easy baskets were not going to be easy to come by. We’re just happy to get an early road win.”

Baird was unable to break free from Centaurus defenders that were draped all over him on the court. Helbig didn’t fare much better early as he was held to just a couple of shot attempts in the first half. Despite their limited scoring, Adam Jolly and Garrett Green stepped up with their scoring in the paint and from the 3-point line to give the Tigers a 21-20 lead at the half.

“The shots that Garrett (Green) hit were huge for us,” Villecco said. “Adam (Jolly) has been a steady guy for us all season long.”

Villecco knew he would still need to get his two leading scorer going for his team to pull through with the win.

A set play to start the second half found Baird an open shot in the mid-range that he would convert. The same play drew another open shot that he would make. He would finish with six points in the third quarter to help the Tigers jump to an eight-point lead, the largest of the night.

“Coach (Villecco) called a set and it worked, so we called it again and it worked again,” Baird said. “It just got me going.”

Helbig contributed as well with shots down low and free throws to score eight points in the second half.

“We wanted to get our best guys some space,” Villecco said. “We did a better job of that in the second half.”

While the Tigers were getting their best two players going, they were unable to pull away from Centaurus. Behind 17 points from Owen Koonce, the Warriors were able to stay within striking distance. A 3-pointer from Koonce would even give the Warriors a 39-37 lead in the final quarter.

In the end, plays from Helbig and Baird were enough to see the Tigers improve to 4-1 this season.

“This year we have the ability to counter other team’s runs,” Baird said. “Last year, we would kind of fold. This year, we are showing more fight and grit.”

Holy Family 46, Centaurus 43

At Centaurus High School

Holy Family (4-1)

Adam Jolly, 5 0-0 10, Tanner Baird 4 2-2 8, Kyle Helbig 4 2-4 10, Garrett Green 3 0-0 9, Dominic Nellis 1 1-3 3, Kenny Fernandez 1 0-0 2, Sam Snider 1 0-0 2.

Centaurus (4-3)

Owen Koonce 7 0-0 17, Nick Vaver 3 2-2 11, Nate Totel 4 0-0 8, Joe Lynch 1 2-2 4, Quinn Rubin 1 1-1 3.

Score by quarters:

Holy Family (4-1) 12 9 15 10 — 46

Centaurus (4-3) 10 10 9 14 — 43

3-point field goals — Holy Family (3): Green 3. Centaurus (6): Koonce 3, Vaver 3.

Brandon Boles: or