Matthew Jonas/Staff Photographer
BROOMFIELD — Few teams have been able to take down Class 4A’s seventh-ranked Holy Family boys basketball team this season.
Broomfield can now add its name to that elite group after disrupting the Tigers in a down-to-the-wire, 49-45 victory on Thursday night at Holy Family. The game boiled down to free throws as the Eagles found ways to get to the charity stripe often and didn’t squander those chances.
“I think it was (a win) with toughness as well as getting to the line and knocking down our free throws for the first time. It was a great feeling to be the tougher team tonight,” Broomfield junior Derek Duplechin said. “(Free throws) have come into games a bunch and we’ve lost a bunch of close games. We know how important they are and we finally capitalized on those free throws tonight and it turned out pretty good.”
Those free throws, on both ends of the court, came in clutch in the final 90 seconds of the action as both teams made their way to the line time and again.
Duplechin led his Eagles with 11 points as senior forward Jackson Ward and sophomore shooting guard Joseph Portillo paved the way for Holy Family’s offense with 12 and 11 points, respectively.
Up until the final minutes of the action, the Eagles held a significant advantage over the Tigers, leading 32-19 at the half and then seeing that edge balloon to 17 points — at 40-23 — near the end of the third quarter.
But Holy Family wouldn’t let it be that easy.
The Tiger offense erupted in the fourth quarter as they continued to drive to the post and force their fair share of fouls. They cut the deficit to just one possession — 43-41 — with just 2:41 left on the clock. In the end, the Eagles out-muscled and out-hustled the home team to improve to 6-4 as Holy Family fell to 8-3.
The Eagles will now look to continue their winning ways when they travel to Boulder on Friday night. Holy Family looks to rebound at Greeley Central on Saturday.
“I think we put up a good fight. We dug ourselves in a hole that we had to dig back out of,” Portillo said. “I think it will be good for the team. It was a real shock. We’ve faced some good teams already and we will again.”
Holy Family girls hoops grounds the Eagles
Ron Rossi knew this season would boil down to defense for his sixth-ranked Holy Family girls.
Boy, did that ring true during the first half of the Tigers’ home matchup against the Eagles on Thursday night, as both teams got down on defense en route to a 46-28 Tigers victory.
Throughout the first 16 minutes of play, both teams made the other offense work extra hard as turnovers and missed opportunities defined much of the game.
Still, Holy Family senior small forward Makenna Bertsch made a statement with 17 points for the only double-digit performance of the game. Sophomore guard Lydia Tymchenko led the Eagles with seven points.
“I think defense has definitely been our strong suit this year. Sometimes we’re a little slow on offense but defense is definitely the place where we can hold teams to the fewest points they’ve scored in games,” Tymchenko said. “I feel like once the shots start falling more, we’re going to get momentum swings once we get steals on defense and we’re going to get those fast breaks and the wide-open threes. Once we start hitting those, it’s going to be a game-changer.”
The Tigers led just 25-15 at the half but only grew stronger after that as both teams cleaned up their respective games. Holy Family improved to 8-1 with the win and will now look to Greeley Central on the road on Saturday afternoon. Broomfield, on the other hand, fell to 3-8 and will look to bounce back against Boulder at home on Friday.
“We were honestly working for it the last few days at practice and we knew what we wanted and we got it,” Bertsch said. “I think our defense, we start off strong and at some points, we are shaky but we know when to come back and we come back.”