Short-handed Gaels can't catch Patriots

BURBANK — They weren't exactly the conditions Holy Family basketball Coach Ernest Siy hoped to deal with, but he had no other options.

Reduced to fielding only seven players, Holy Family was forced to scrap Friday afternoon during its opening-round game of the Providence Summer Tournament. The Gaels barely had any bench players and two of their starters were out of town on previous engagements.

A depleted Holy Family squad struggled at times throughout a 29-21 loss to Beckman at Providence High. The Gaels will face South Pasadena or Holy Martyrs in a consolation contest at 8 a.m. today.

"We were able to keep it close, but we came up a little short," said Siy, who guided the Gaels to a tie for second place in the Horizon League last season and an appearance in the playoffs for the first time since 2006. "We didn't get any defensive rebounds in the beginning of the game, but then I thought we were able to respond well and toughen up."

The Gaels competed without starting junior guard Gaby Diaz and junior forward Elena Lomeli. Siy said Diaz, a reigning All-Horizon League second-team pick, missed the game because of a family vacation and Lomeli was absent because of a softball commitment.

Both helped the Gaels advance to the CIF Southern Section Division V-AA playoffs in February.

Holy Family closed to within 22-19 after Gayle Lachica, who averaged 5.6 points and 3.3 steals per game last season en route to securing all-league second-team accolades, made the first of two free throws with 3:56 left in the contest. However, Beckman took advantage of a couple of Holy Family defensive breakdowns in the paint to pull away from the fatigued Gaels.

"We had those two plays in which we didn't rotate to the weak side," Siy said. "They got two layups out of it."

Beckman owned an 18-11 halftime advantage and limited the Gaels to 10 second-half points. The Patriots grabbed nine of their 14 offensive rebounds in the opening half.

Holy Family pulled to within 13-11 on a long jump shot by sophomore guard Samantha Moreno, who, along with Lachica, were the only two returners to compete Friday.

The Gaels received a team-high six points from guard Natalia Neris and five from Lachica. Rebecca Anguiano and Moreno contributed four points apiece for the Gaels.

"I thought we made a huge improvement throughout the summer," Siy said. "We have some new players and some others up from the JV team.

"If we keep improving steadily, then we will be OK."

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