BROOMFIELD — Only titans can take down other titans.
Head coach Ron Rossi knew Holy Family girls basketball’s Class 4A Great 8 matchup at home against Green Mountain would boil down to defense, as it has every time the two teams have met over the past few years.
But even the best zone can’t guard well against lights-out 3-point shooting. On Friday night, thanks in large part to the hot hands of the No. 6 seeded Rams from downtown, the No. 3 Tigers’ state tournament run came to an end when Green Mountain knocked them out with a 57-45 final score.
The Tigers very nearly erased a 32-23 halftime deficit when they came out hot in the third quarter and pulled within four points, 40-36, at the start of the fourth. Shaky free throw shooting down the stretch, however, did them in in the end.
“I’m really proud of the kids,” Rossi said. “They came back in a situation. They played in the championship (of the Longs Peak League/Northern Colorado Athletic Conference tournament) so they got to that goal. They had a chance to get to the Final Four — it’d be the fourth time in four years — but we just came up short.”
Green Mountain will be headed to its third straight Final Four after sinking nine 3-pointers in the Great 8.
Sophomore guard Essynce Contreraz had 15 points as junior small forward Fiona Snashall, senior small forward Makenna Bertsch, senior center Kaitlin Owens and senior center Maggie Dooley all contributed six more points apiece.
However, the Tigers shot just 9-of-23 from the foul line.
“He and his team came to play and they hit big shots the first half,” Rossi said. “That was the key. They hit all those big shots and we didn’t answer. Then we made a little run and we had a chance, and they got to the line and missed free throws.”
No matter how the game ended, that can’t take away from the stellar season Holy Family put together with a final 21-4 record. The Tigers expected a few growing pains after losing five strong seniors in 2021, but Contreraz takes pride in the strength she and her ladies showed on the court to get to the quarterfinals in the first place.
Next season, they’ll be returning sharpshooters in herself (10.9 points per game) and junior Mariah Quintana (10.4 points per game), and they’ll be another year wiser for it.
“This group of girls, we made it this far and I’m pretty sure a lot of people didn’t make it this far, especially the five seniors we lost last year,” Contreraz said. “They were all all-stars, amazing players. The girls came up to play, brand new starting five. We stepped up. We came to play. That’s all we can ask for. It may not always go our way, winning games all the time, but this season was amazing. I couldn’t ask for a better season.”