Woodcreek falls in NorCal final

Archbishop Mitty is hot; Timberwolves are not
By: Bill Poindexter/Roseville Press Tribune Sports Editor
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SACRAMENTO – In the end, it wasn’t splendid sophomore Aaron Gordon who beat Woodcreek High School on Saturday night in the CIF Northern California Regional Division II championship game at Power Balance Pavilion.

Gordon had his moments, and he produced the highlight of the game.

But it wasn’t just Gordon; it was everyone for San Jose-Archbishop Mitty in a 67-44 victory over the Timberwolves that puts the top-seeded Monarchs (31-2) in the state championship game Friday night against Summit of Fontana. Summit defeated defending-champion San Diego-Lincoln 74-69 on Saturday.

“They shot the ball tremendously, and ARCO is a tough place to shoot,” Woodcreek coach Paul Hayes said. “They were also pretty physical. They get out and get after it, and we’ve encountered that before. Other than that, we just ran into a team that shot the ball real well.”

Woodcreek centered its attention on Gordon, Mitty’s 6-foot-7 sophomore and No. 1 weapon, but the Monarchs still shot 50 percent from the field (26 for 52 overall and 7 for 16 from three-point range) and hounded the Timberwolves (28-6) defensively. Woodcreek shot 37 percent (18 for 49), including 1 for 17 from three-point range.

Gordon scored just two points in the first half, but Mitty’s Kyle Toth scored 18 of his game-high 20 on 7-of-9 shooting, including 4 for 6 from three-point range, as the Monarchs took a 35-25 lead.

The Timberwolves pulled within 37-29 on a basket by John Peska early in the third quarter, prompting Mitty coach Tim Kennedy to take a time out.

“We were real flat, and guys just had a kind of dazed look on our face like, ‘Oh, here we go again,’ ” said Kennedy, whose team gave up a late lead to the Timberwolves last season and lost 91-83 in overtime in a NorCal semifinal in San Jose. “So I just wanted to get their attention and get our focus back.”

Mitty then put away Woodcreek with an 18-0 run. Toth drove to the basket on a break and flipped the ball off the backboard to a charging Gordon, whose two-handed backward slam dunk gave the Monarchs a 52-29 bulge.

“I saw Aaron kind of running behind me, and he said something; I don’t know what he said,” Toth said of the play.

Murphy said Woodcreek didn’t match up to Mitty’s physical approach. “They were pushing and shoving, and we didn’t match that. If the refs are letting it go, we have to do the same thing back, not to an extreme but just do the same thing they’re doing to us,” he said. “We weren’t recovering on their shooters as good as we were practicing. I don’t know how the game would have turned out, but it definitely would have been a little bit closer.”

Murphy had 13 points and six rebounds for Woodcreek, and Peska had 12 points and seven rebounds. Quinn Morse came off the bench to lead the Timberwolves with eight rebounds.

Gordon finished with 10 points, 17 rebounds, three assists, two blocked shots and two steals.

“It was a great experience for all of us,” Murphy said. “I can speak for all the seniors. Going down and beating them there (last season) was one of the greatest feelings in my high school career. I know they had the mind-set they wanted to come back and get us back. A really good two years for varsity. Sucks it had to end like this.”

Said Woodcreek senior Jamie Geyer, “I don’t think you could ask for anything more. How many people even make it to this kind of game? And we did it twice.”

Archbishop Mitty 67, Woodcreek 44
Woodcreek (44)

Geyer 2-6 2-4 6, Milani 1-6 0-0 2, Summers 1-3 0-0 2, Peska 5-13 2-2 12, Murphy 5-12 3-4 13, Kimball 0-0 0-0 0, Morse 2-6 0-0 4, Haakenson 0-0 0-0 0, Williams 1-1 0-0 3, Bass 1-1 0-0 2, Fearman 0-1 0-0 0, Bishop 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 18-49 7-10 44.
Archbishop Mitty (67)
Vranicar 3-6 0-0 9, Younger 3-5 1-2 7, Gordon 5-9 0-4 10, Wan 4-7 2-3 10, Toth 7-12 2-2 20, B. White 1-3 2-2 4, Gorman 2-3 0-0 4, Anderson 1-2 0-0 2, Biebel 0-1 0-0 0, J. White 0-1 0-0 0, Hall 0-1 1-2 1, Penny 0-1 0-0 0, Trang 0-0 0-0 0, Peters 0-0 0-0 0, Abajelo 0-0 0-0 0, Opamuratowongse 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 26-52 8-15 67.

Woodcreek   12   13    6   13 – 44
Mitty           16   19   20   12 – 67

Three-point goals – Woodcreek 1-17 (Williams 1-1, Peska 0-7, Milani 0-4, Murphy 0-2, Morse 0-2, Geyer 0-1), Mitty 7-16 (Toth 4-7, Vranicar 3-5, Wan 0-2, B. White 0-1, J. White 0-1). Total fouls – Woodcreek 12, Mitty 14. Rebounds – Woodcreek 30 (Morse 8), Mitty 32 (Gordon 17). Assists – Woodcreek 6 (Murphy 2), Mitty 10 (B. White 4). Turnovers – Woodcreek 20, Mitty 14.

Read Wednesday's Press Tribune newspaper for pictures, additional stories and highlights.