DENVER – Only for a program that has achieved the level of success the Holy Family girls basketball team has would eight years seem like a long time to go without a state championship.

Holy Family won six Class 3A titles in a seven-year span from 2008-14 and has had championship-caliber teams many times since, but hasn’t been able to recapture the first-place trophy. On Saturday morning at the Denver Coliseum, however, the Tigers won 49-44 over D’Evelyn in the 4A state championship game.

Not only have the Tigers added yet another championship trophy to their trophy case, this latest one is their first in the 4A classification.

“It feels amazing, honestly,” Tigers junior Essynce Contreraz said. “I mean, the coaching staff we have and the girls we have, you can’t find that anywhere. We have the best team out here in the state of Colorado for the classification 4A. It’s just the best feeling. We worked our hardest all season and it showed tonight how much we wanted it.”

(Doug Ottewill/

The top-seeded Tigers (25-3 overall) trailed 22-18 at halftime behind the second-seeded Jaguars (27-1), who entered Saturday’s title game with an unblemished record. The Tigers held the Jaguars, who finished runners-up in 2012 and 2013 and were chasing their program’s first state title, to seven points in the third quarter while putting together an 11-0 run of their own and led 33-29 to start the fourth.

The Tigers’ largest lead came at eight points with 1 minute, 30 seconds left, but the Jaguars cut that lead to three points with a minute remaining in the game. Though D’Evelyn pulled within two points of the lead in the final minute, Holy Family’s Fiona Snashall, Julia Hodell and Contreraz combined to go 5 for 6 at the free-throw line to push that lead to five and seal the victory.

“We were all talking about how badly we wanted this and how our motto was just, ‘One more,’” Tigers senior Fiona Snashall said. “We just needed one final push to get into the third quarter and take over. I think we just needed the will to win a little more.”

Snashall led the Tigers with 14 points and 10 rebounds, Contreraz scored 10 points and had seven assists, and freshman Enyiah Contreraz scored nine points, including several critical 3-pointers that spurred the Tigers in the second half.

D’Evelyn junior Macy Scheer led all scorers with 18 points and Jaguars junior Peyton Marvel, who entered Saturday’s game averaging just under 20 points per game, finished with 11 points and 16 rebounds.