Defense helps Holy Family in first round of playoffs

Adam Hothersall
Special to Colorado Community Media
Posted 3/10/20

The Lady Tigers of Holy Family (19-6) have found their stride in the 4A state tournament. Relying on a relentless defensive attitude along with contributions from everyone, the No. 7 seed advanced to …

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Defense helps Holy Family in first round of playoffs

Posted

The Lady Tigers of Holy Family (19-6) have found their stride in the 4A state tournament. Relying on a relentless defensive attitude along with contributions from everyone, the No. 7 seed advanced to the Great 8 after their 42-27 victory over No. 10 Air Academy (18-7) March 3.

Taking their first lead of the evening at 6-5 with 1:38 left in the opening quarter, Holy Family couldn't find a groove early. However, a 3-pointer by junior Daniella Hren with 14 seconds left in the frame shifted momentum to the home side to take an 11-8 lead - which they never gave up.

"Sometimes it takes a little bit of calming down, and both teams just couldn't find the basket early on," Holy Family coach Ron Rossi said after the contest. "We had some good looks that didn't go down, but I knew our defense was going to carry us - they have carried us all year. This is probably one of the best defensive clubs that we have had in a long time here."

Shadowing Colorado commit Kylee Blacksten all night, the talented, long senior only tallied 13 points against the aggressive Holy Family unit.

"We just wanted to give her a lot of different looks and have her in a position where she had to handle the ball a lot to take some energy out of her scoring. We wanted to put pressure on her to work a little bit harder while playing the one, two, three, four, and five for them," Rossi said. "That girl is going to CU, and she's a fine player. Our goal was to take No. 23 (sophomore Brianna Sealy) and her (Blacksten) and hold them underneath their averages. They only got 27 points (as a team), and you have to feel good about that in a Sweet 16 game."

In the second, a 13-7 run led by five points from Holy Family junior Tyler Whitlock spaced the lead to nine. Taking their largest lead one minute and 49 seconds into the new half, quality play from freshman Mariah Quintana and sophomores Makenna Bertsch, Maggie Dooley helped place the affair at a 28-16 score.

Keeping their distance heading to the fourth up 12, five points from junior Daniella Hren eventually propelled her team to the convincing win in front of an energetic Tigers' crowd. Only junior Alyssa Wells scored double figures with 11 as six other Lady Tigers found the scorebook in the balanced attack.

"Depth makes a difference. We had Daniella come on and hit a couple of big shots with her defense as well, which was a big contribution. Mariah also came in and gave our guards a little bit of a breather in the third quarter that they needed."

Following Wells, Hren and Whitlock tallied eight and seven points each. Whitlock also led the team with 10 rebounds as Dooley earned eight (three offensive). Wells led the group with six assists and three steals while junior Dylan Sanders recorded four assists.

Holy Family continued into the state playoffs March 6, travelling to Pueblo to defeat the number two rated Cyclones 50 to 39.

Now in the Final Four, Holy Family is scheduled to meet number three rated Green Mountain at 5:30 p.m. March 12 at the Denver Coliseum.

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