Another year, another Mitty section title. The Monarchs overcame a 16 point deficit to beat Serra 68-60 for the programs' second straight Central Coast Section Open Division title. In the girls final, St. Ignatius snapped a six game section final losing streak with a 55-36 win over Sacred Heart Cathedral.
Many questioned how Mitty would stay among Northern California's elite after the graduation of Aaron Gordon. The Monarchs answered that with the West Catholic Athletic League title, the WCAL playoff title and the CCS Open Division crown with a 68-60 win over Serra.
"Over the past couple of years, it's a dynasty. We've got guys who are stepping up left and right. Younger guys filling in and they really know their roles too. I think the togetherness is a lot more than people understand. Everybody knows the common goal and we all work really hard," Mitty guard Connor Peterson said.
Mitty head coach Tim Kennedy said on another section title, "Everybody likes to say that once Aaron is gone we wouldn't do anything. Guys used that as motivation right from the summer. They always had that mentality. We still have a lot of talent here. It all comes down to do you stick with what your program is built on? These guys really stepped up to those challenges."
The Monarchs trailed 13-2 and 29-13 in the first half before storming back in the second quarter. Trailing 35-34 at halftime, Mitty scored the first six points in the second half and held on in a back and forth contest. Sophomore Ben Kone had 26 points and 16 rebounds and the Monarchs got steady leadership from Matt McAndrews and Peterson. The duo combined for 22 points and 11 assists.
"It kind of reminded me of my sophomore year in the state game," Peterson said of stepping in at point guard. "I knew I could do it because I played it my whole freshman year. In practice this week, we went over plays in case I had to fill in. We were really prepared for that. I trust my teammates a lot and they made big plays.
Serra couldn't miss in the early going and finished at 50 percent shooting in the first half. Senior Danny Mahoney continued his good season with 20 points. Trevor Brown had 13 points and six rebounds. Loyola Marymount baseball signee Sean Watkins finished with 10 points, five rebounds and six assists.
After early success from three point range, Serra finished the game 4-for-20 from beyond the arc and was outrebounded by 23.
"We always preach win the paint. They were kind of getting after us on 50-50 balls in that first quarter. We were able to turn the tide on that and it got our energy going. It always changes the momentum (when you get) offensive rebounds," Kennedy said.
Mitty should be headed for the Open Division and Serra is expected to enter a loaded Division II field.
Matt McAndrews 6-foot-0 PG Mitty (2014): The unsigned senior controlled the action during Mitty's comeback until fouling out with 3:31 left. He had 14 points and five assists, including back-to-back three pointers as part of Mitty's first half run. An elusive guard with quickness, McAndrews routinely got into the paint and displayed a pass first disposition. "He's got the ball in his hands the majority of the time and he makes us go," Kennedy said.
Connor Peterson 6-foot-3 G Mitty (2014): Peterson is a stat sheet stuffer who filled multiple roles for Mitty. He handled point guard duties over the last three and a half minutes with plenty of success and can impact the game off the ball. He is a good rebounding guard (12 rebounds) and saw time on Mahoney. A driver first, Peterson has good strength and sees the floor well for his attacks. The 3-star prospect is headed to Azuza Pacific.
Ben Kone 6-foot-8 Post Mitty (2016): Kone had quite a stat line with 26 points on 11-for-18 shooting and 16 rebounds. Most of his points came from offensive rebounds and drop offs, but showed his good hands and agility inside. One example was a dump off where he let the defender clear before going up to draw contact and get a three point play. He was the focal point of the early offense getting looks on the block. He is one of the top prospects in the 2016 class.
Danny Mahoney 6-foot-0 G Serra (2014): Mahoney had 20 points on 15 shots in the loss. He has a quick release on his shot and utilizes a hard drive and pull up game along with three point range. Mahoney also finished three baskets inside. He should be playing somewhere next year.
SI breaks through for section title
In control throughout the game, St. Ignatius captured the CCS Open Division title with a 55-36 win over Sacred Heart Cathedral. It is the first section title since 2006 and snapped a six game losing streak in section finals.
The Fightin' Irish were without co-WCAL player of the year and Pacific signee GeAnna Summers-Luaulu, who is out with a knee injury suffered in the win over Pinewood. Starter Kai'ree Howard was also limited to 12 minutes.
St. Ignatius led throughout and had another balanced scoring effort, led by 14 points from Janessa Manzano. Sydney Raggio had 13 points while Josie Little and Quinci Mann each had 10 points. Little also had 20 rebounds.
"From the get go, we've said with this team we play so many players that if we have players averaging double digits, we're doing something wrong. If everyone is doing their job and we are going for that six to 10 points a game and averaging 10 players, that means we are scoring in the high 60s, 70s," St. Ignatius head coach Michael Mulkerrins said.
Sacred Heart Cathedral got 13 points from Gabrielle Vigil and six points and nine rebounds from A'shanti Coleman. It shot 20 percent as a team and went 13-for-26 from the free throw line.
The win likely means a trip to the NorCal Open Division for the Wildcats, which reached the NorCal Division III finals last year. Sacred Heart Cathedral along with Enterprise of the Northern Section will be the favorites in Division III if the Fightin' Irish stay in their division.
Quinci Mann 5-foot-9 G St. Ignatius (2014): The Lehigh signee provided early offense to finish with 10 points on 4-for-9 shooting. On numerous trips, she advanced the ball to start the offense and was comfortable handling in a crowd. Mann had a pair of short jumpers and a good take baseline. The 3-star guard is rated No. 21 in the NCP Top 40.
Sydney Raggio 6-foot-0 F St. Ignatius (2015): Raggio showed off some of her versatility in the win with 13 points and six rebounds. On the block, she sealed off defenders well and has good feel around the basket. She can work with both hands and is comfortable in the open floor. She is a solid rebounder and moved well on defense. She is the most projectable frontline player out of the three WCAL prospects.
Josie Little 6-foot-1 Post St. Ignatius (2015): Little brings two legit skills to the table and both were on display on Friday. Little is an active shot blocker who takes good angles and times her attempts well. She is also a tough rebounder in hauling in 20 rebounds in the win. She is active on the glass and plays with a good motor. She went 2-for-7 from the field and 6-for-10 from the free throw line.
A'shanti Coleman 6-foot-1 Post Sacred Heart Cathedral (2015): Coleman is full of potential and displayed some of it in the losing effort. She is a good shot blocker with her instincts and length and runs the floor well. She has good hands and plays with good energy on both ends. She struggled from the field going 1-for-10 on a tough offensive night for Sacred Heart Cathedral.