The Holy Family High School girls basketball team used a decisive fourth quarter run of made free throws and stingy defense to overcome an upset bid by the feisty Sand Creek team by the score of …
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The Holy Family High School girls basketball team used a decisive fourth quarter run of made free throws and stingy defense to overcome an upset bid by the feisty Sand Creek team by the score of 56-45 to advance to the Sweet 16 of the Class 4A State Tournament.
The Tigers entered the fourth quarter down 40-38 to the scrappy Scorpions of Sand Creek with nothing to lose. The Tiger seniors huddled together during the intermission between the quarters and decided to make a defensive stand.
“I told them that we were going to find a way to win,” Holy Family Head Coach Ron Rossi said. “It’s Holy Family tradition that defensively, we needed to get a stop. Score, stop and we needed two of those.”
Senior guard Isabelle Hren, who led Holy Family in scoring through the regular season, with 16.9 points per game, was held to just seven points through three quarters. But she scored 10 points in the fourth, on a perfect 10-for-10 from the free throw line to put the Tigers back up front.
“Sand Creek played a dime-and-one on Isabelle throughout the game, so we needed to make adjustments,” Rossi said. “We had to have other players pick up the slack. Isabelle has had nine double-doubles this season and two triple-doubles. She’s a really balanced player, an awesome kid and has a really great attitude.”
The Tigers shut down the Scorpions on defense, holding them without a field goal until Nikki Derrell banked in a 3-pointer with 15 seconds remaining in the final quarter and the outcome already decided.
In addition to Hren’s 17 points, junior Amanda Ward had 13 points and made three 3-pointers, while Genavieve Gudino and Kaitlyn McKenzie had eight and seven points respectively.
Sand Creek only had four players who scored during the game, led by senior Connor Proctor with 15 points, while Derrell, a freshman, had 14 and fellow senior Jalen Davis added 13. The Scorpions kept the pressure on the Tigers throughout the game, particularly on a 9-2 run to end the third quarter with the lead.
“We knew they were a good team,” Rossi said. “Their record doesn’t tell how good they are. They play in a very good league and it’s hard to defend their three shooters.”
The final quarter proved to be a free throw exhibition for the Tigers, as all but two points came from the line in a large disparity in free throws made and taken between the two schools. Holy Family finished 16-22 from the line, with all 16 made free throws coming down the stretch. Sand Creek went six-for-10 from the charity stripe.
“In the playoffs, free throws make the difference between winning and losing,” Rossi said.
In other 4A playoff action, Valor Christian beat Standley Lake 44-32 and Evergreen beat Green Mountain 38-36 to advance both schools to the Sweet 16.
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