Gaels fall, still in playoff hunt

PASADENA — The hard way will be the only way for the Holy Family basketball team in its quest to qualify for the postseason for the first time in three seasons.

The Gaels could have wrapped up a playoff spot Wednesday night against Alverno with a victory. Poor shooting and lack of attention on defense nullified that option.

Holy Family made just two field goals in the first half en route to a 45-31 Horizon League loss to Alverno at Foothills Community Church.

The lone bright spot for the Gaels (7-10 and 4-4 in league) is, though they dropped into a tie for third with Los Angeles Sacred Heart of Jesus (6-10, 4-4), the teams will vie for the right to wrap up the last available playoff spot from the league. It has not yet been decided where and when the play-in game will occur.

“At least we have a play-in game,” said Holy Family first-year Coach Ernest Siy, whose team never led Wednesday night. “I’d rather have a play-in game then have a coin flip, because you don’t want to have your season thrown away by a flip.”

Alverno (6-10, 5-3) came prepared to play against Holy Family, resulting in the Jaguars clinching second in league behind Bishop Conaty-Loretto. Alverno beat Holy Family to nearly every loose ball and got a game-high 19 points from guard Jasmine Ross to help the Jaguars sweep the two-game season series against the Gaels.

“I think that Alverno wanted it more than we did,” said Siy, who got a team-high eight points and six steals from forward Adriana Quintero. “Hats off to Alverno.

“They had some transition baskets, and we were slow and lethargic. We couldn’t get our offense in a flow, and they played a good 1-2-2 defense against us.”

Alverno, which posted a 36-30 road win against Holy Family on Jan. 14 at the Pacific Park Community Center, built a 20-9 halftime lead. The only positive for the Gaels in the first half came when guard Jennifer Fisher made a three-pointer at the buzzer to end the first quarter with the Gaels trailing, 10-5.

Holy Family, which last qualified for the postseason in 2006, received seven points from forward Clarisa Romero and six from Shabby Talab.

Teammate Gayle Lachica, a forward, finished with five points and three of Holy Family’s 13 steals.

Siy said a better effort will be needed against Sacred Heart of Jesus.

“Our season isn’t over,” Siy said. “We have one more shot, but we will are going to have to play a lot better.”

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