Both Archbishop Mitty and Archbishop Riordan started the week ranked in the NCP Top 20 rankings. But the week went in opposite directions for each team as Mitty opened West Catholic Athletic League play with two convincing wins while Riordan lost both league games including a 52-31 defeat to the Monarchs on Friday evening in San Francisco. NCP No. 7 Mitty strengthens its top 10 position as they move to 10-2 while NCP No. 14 Riordan drops to 7-5 and has a tenuous stay in the rankings.
The game was close in the first half as the Monarchs had 11-10 and 20-17 leads after each of the first two quarters respectively. But the second half saw Mitty's offense get into gear as they extended the lead to 38-25 after the third quarter before finishing off Riordan 52-31.
Mitty has won their two WCAL games by a combined 48 points. The guard play is consistent with seniors Connor Peterson and Matt McAndrews while sophomore Ben Kone aptly mans the interior. The question mark may be the depth of the bench if the team has foul trouble or injury.
Going into league play, Mitty may have been the de facto favorite due to their dominant play during the past few seasons. But after a week, the Monarchs have earned that standing with its dominant performance. Next week, Mitty will have a home game with Sacred Heart Cathedral.
Riordan lost in double overtime to Serra earlier in the week and then failed to show up in the second half against Mitty. Chiefy and Jiday Ugbaja accounted for 21 of the 31 points in the defeat to Mitty but the athletic cousins will need offensive support from teammates. In addition, Riordan only made one three-point shot as the perimeter shooting was severely deficient.
Going into the season, Riordan looked to have a good balance of playmakers and size. The season is at a critical junction as Riordan battles for San Francisco bragging rights with games against Sacred Heart Cathedral and St Ignatius on Tuesday and Thursday before ending the week against St Francis on Saturday. Losing two or more of next week's games can have a Titanic effect on the rest of the season
Players of Note
Ben Kone 6-foot-8 PF Mitty (2016): Kone led the game with 14 points, 10 rebounds, and 3 blocks. The sophomore runs the floor well, attacks rebounding aggressively, and makes emphatic blocks. Kone can be a college level center with a few more inches or he can be a power forward with some refinement in his ball handling and face up offensive moves.
Connor Peterson 6-foot-3 G Mitty (2014): The Azusa commit had 10 points, 7 rebounds, and 3 assists. Peterson attacked the basket and was aggressive in his perimeter defense. The senior will be a steady floor leader to guide the Monarchs through the season.
Chiefy Ugbaja 6-foot-5 F Riordan (2014): Ugbaja had 13 points and 6 rebounds in the defeat as he was aggressively attacking the basket. His athleticism is noticeable but will need some perimeter shooting to complement his attacking offense. Ugbaja's athleticism and size should tempt at least lower division college programs.
Jiday Ugbaja 6-foot-0 G Riordan (2014): The senior had an off night shooting as he had 8 points, 6 rebounds, and 4 assists. Will Ugbaja be forced to be a scorer during the rest of the season or will he be able to facilitate the offense for his teammates. Ugbaja can be a solid contributor as a guard at the next level with his plus quickness and plus size.