BROOMFIELD — Holy Family coach Ron Rossi grabbed the public announcer’s microphone after his team’s Class 4A quarterfinals win on Friday night and further revved up a purple, fanatical fan base that had already flooded the court.
Make it heard: The Tigers girls basketball team is coming to the Denver Coliseum.
Genevieve Gudino had 13 points and Tyler Whitlock scored eight of her 12 in a memorable third quarter rush, pushing Holy Family past Greeley Central 52-42 and into the 4A semifinals for the first time since 2016.
Rossi, who won six state titles with the Tigers in Class 3A, notched career win No. 503 to punch his second ticket to the 4A Final Four.
Still breathing hard afterward, the longtime coach said the feeling never gets old.
“The kids’ joy keeps me coming back, man,” he smiled.
Alyssa Wells helped fend off a late rally from the Wildcats with eight of her 11 points in the opening minutes of the fourth, and Amanda Ward added nine. On Thursday, the Tigers (21-5) will face No. 14 Mullen (18-8) at the Coliseum with a spot in the state finals on the line.
“We’re at the highest point of our season,” said Ward, one of only three seniors on a sophomore-heavy team. “If we all stick together, stick to the game plan, all 15 of us, we can do it. We can win state.”
The Tigers shrugged off a forgettable, two-point second quarter and scored eight points in the first 1:31 of the third en route to tearing off 15 straight.
Ward sandwiched a pair of 3s around Whitlock’s layup in traffic, and a spongy defense soaked up nine turnovers leading to the fast break, as the lead grew to 30-13.
In the fourth, the Wildcats (24-2) pulled within 35-26 before Wells buried consecutive 3s — the second of which was a pull-up attempt that sent a defender flying right on by — and pushed the lead to 41-26 with 5:44 remaining.
Then after another mini rally got it within seven, Gudino sealed the game with three free throws in the final 49 seconds.
“I think it was our drive and motivation. We kept motivating each other,” Wells said. “We just wanted to win, and we were going to do anything to get that done.”
Earlier, Gudino hit a pair of 3s and turned a steal into an easy layup in scoring Holy Family’s first eight points. Then, Whitlock added another quick five to push the lead to 13-4 after the first.
The offense dissipated in the second, though, and Greeley Central closed the half on a 9-2 run. Naomi Hidalgo had her team’s first seven points and Aubree Raimer put away a contested lay-in at the rim in the final minute to pull the Wildcats within 15-13.
In the third, Holy Family came back alive — and then some.
“We just talked about that we had to play better defense and we’re going to have to get out and run,” Rossi said. “As you saw, our running game got going in the second half and defensively we were a little tougher. We had a really good third quarter.”
A packed-in crowd gave their team a standing ovation as the buzzer sounded. The student section rushed the court and celebrated with players. They even chanted “Rocket Ron, Rocket Ron!” as the Tigers headed off the court.
Gudino said of the moment, “It was crazy. It’s really hard to put into words how supportive our school is for us. Always having that support behind you, it really pushes you to the next level.”
Brent W. New: email@example.com and @brentwnew
Holy Family 52, Greeley Central 42
At Holy Family HS
GREELEY CENTRAL (24-2)
Vasquez 0 0-0 0, Tapia 0 0-0 0, Yackey 0 0-0 0, Cerda 0 0-0 0, Soto 0 0-0 0, M. Hidalgo 6 4-4 19, Arredondo 0 0-2 0, Sheets, 4 2-2 11, N. Hidalgo 3 4-6 10, Villarreal 0 0-0 0, Raimer 1 0-0 2, Rodriguez 0 0-0 0. Team 14 10-14 42.
HOLY FAMILY (21-5)
McKenzie 1 1-3 3, Gudino 4 3-4, 13, Thomas 0 0-0 0, Sanders 0 0-0 0, Wells 4, 0-0 11, Gardon 1 0-1 2, Whitlock 5 1-3 12, Ward 2 3-4 9, Winters 0 0-0 0, Aanerud 1 0-0 2, Hren 0 0-0 0, Coufal 0 0-0 0. Team 18 8-15 52.
Score by quarters:
Greeley Central 4 9 6 23 — 42
3-point field goals — Greeley Central (4): M. Hidalgo 3, Sheets; Holy Family (8): Wells 3, Gudino 2, Ward 2, Whitlock. Total fouls — Greeley Central 18, Holy Family 15. Fouled out — N. Hidalgo, Aanerud. Technical fouls — No technical fouls.