Defense guides Holy Family basketball past Roosevelt


After allowing 77 points the night prior to Erie, Holy Family basketball (5-4, 2-2 in conference) buckled down Jan. 9 against Roosevelt (3-5, 0-2 in conference) to claim their second conference victory by a 57-37 final. Falling behind 10-3 didn’t discourage the Tigers from dominating the rest of the way, including a shut-down second quarter in which the home team allowed two points.

“We struggled defensively going back to Wednesday night against Erie and that kind of carried over to the first quarter,” Holy Family coach Peter Villecco said. “We went into the game with a goal getting back to our defensive identity, and guys mentioned that again after the first quarter. I put it on (seniors) Dom (Nellis) and Garrett (Green) — our seniors — and they all settled down, and we played a lot better team defense after that.”

With a 24-20 advantage at halftime, the third frame is when the offense found their groove for the Tigers. In transition off missed shots, HF tallied 20 points to space their lead out to 16 going to the fourth behind 10 points from Green and six from senior Jacob Van Handel.

“After we got a couple of easy baskets, guys just relaxed. When you see shots go into the basket, it makes things a little bit easier offensively. It was our third game in three nights, and scoring the ball has been a struggle, but our guys are trying really hard,” Villecco said.

En route to the commanding victory, every player on the roster found playing-time for the home team. With the new court completely finished in front of a ruckus HF student section, senior Leo Nelson entered the affair late in the fourth, scoring the first basket of his career as the gymnasium erupted.

“It was great to get everyone in. You see a kid like Leo Nelson ­­— a manager for us the last few years — for him to go out and get his first basket was awesome to see. It’s important for us to get the young guy’s varsity minutes, and we love playing at home. It was only our second home game of the year, been on the road a lot, and it’s nice to be back in our gym.”

Green finished the night with a team-high 20 points as junior Blake Hammond followed with seven.


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