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March 17, 2013Gordon Puts On A Show In Open Division Regional Final
NorCal Open Division Championship:
Aaron Gordon scored 29 points and had 22 rebounds to lead 2nd seeded Archbishop Mitty of San Jose to a convincing 70-50 victory over 4th seeded Sheldon of Sacramento in the CIF State Northern Section Open Division Regional Final Saturday at Sleep Train Arena in Sacramento.
This is Mitty's third consecutive year they are headed to the State Finals; the past two years they won the Division 2 Championship.
It is hard to understate the importance of the fact that Mitty so handily beat the best team in Sacramento essentially in a home gym for them 20 miles from their campus. Mitty has now won 4 straight section championship and has 3 high level Division 1 perimeter players.
The term underdog was used post game by Mitty. Both Gordon and Mitty head coach Tim Kennedy felt like they were the " underdog", as they spoke of the talk among media and fans that the two best teams played on Tuesday (Salesian and Sheldon). That clearly motivated Mitty, as they came out focused and ready to play.
Mitty is playing their best at the right time: Gordon said, "This was probably our best game we have played all season." Kennedy echoed similar sentiments, "This was defensively our best game."
Gordon was the difference as he was in the first matchup between the two teams, a December 8th 71-65 Monarch victory at Sheldon. But the two teams are completely different since that game. Mitty's 4 new starters alongside Gordon are now comfortable and peaking at the right time, and Sheldon has gelled since Darin Johnson became eligible. Fast forward to now and Gordon and his squad had the exact same result, except with a greater margin of victory.
Gordon, who will attempt to become the first Northern California player to win 3 State Championships next week (watch for a Californiapreps.com upcoming story on that), simply put on a show. The player mentioned most as the best player out of the Bay Area since Jason Kidd has a chance to have more State Championships than the Oakland legend. Gordon scored in and around the paint, dominating on the glass to account for 22 rebounds. He had one huge one-hand jam in transition that brought Sleep Train Arena to its feet. His ball handling is clearly one of his strengths, as he routinely brought the ball up the floor and broke the press against a quick Sheldon team.
The 5-star number 6 player in the country also announced he will make his college decision at the end of the month at the McDonald's All-American game in Chicago.
Gordon's defense was also one of the keys tonight. He shut down the Washington bound wing Johnson, limiting him to just 6 points, including 0-10 from the field and three-point line. Gordon uses his exceptional quickness and length to make life hard for his opponents. He took Johnson out of the game and affected numerous other Sheldon teammates like Dakarai Allen on switches, as he blocked 3 shots.
Gordon summarized his defensive mentality following the game, "I guard the best player on the other team... I can guard the 1-5." That might be his most underrated skill. He is much more than the highlight famous dunks that are on YouTube - he has an elite mentality and skill set that will only improve as he becomes more comfortable on the perimeter with his jump shot.
Gordon's supporting cast played well. Junior guard Connor Peterson added 11 points and 5 rebounds. Peterson controlled the tempo and was the spark plug for Mitty. Peterson has had a hot second half of the season while playing both the point guard and shooting guard positions. Senior forward Brandon Farrell added 10 points and 7 rebounds. Farrell played very good defense tonight, contesting shots and using his 6'6 frame to make life difficult for the smaller Sheldon squad.
Sheldon was led by senior guard Antonio Lewis with 13 points. The difference for Sheldon was the fact that their big 3 of Johnson and the San Diego State bound duo Allen & D'Erryl Williams shot a combined 5 for 30 from the field and three-point line. Johnson struggled to create his own shot and had 6 points. He was unable to get going offensively like he did on Tuesday against Salesian when he had 24 points. Johnson should have an impact next year as a freshman because he does the one thing Washington needs badly, a person that can score and score in bunches.
Williams uses his strong body to excel in transition but Mitty limited him to just 7 points. Allen was unable to get going also, as he had only 8 points. The duo should have success at the college level - Williams has a college level body and the ability to play both the point guard and shooting guard positions. Allen has the ability to play the shooting guard and small forward positions and is one of the premier defenders in the country so he'll improve SDSU's fast break offense and full court defense.
Mitty jumped out to an early 17-9 lead at the end of the first quarter behind 8 points from Gordon who set the tone offensively and defensively in the paint with two jump hooks and a tough catch and score in traffic. Peterson added 5 in the opening quarter for Mitty. Allen led Sheldon with 3 points.
Sheldon played well in the second quarter as Williams and Ryan Manning had 4 points each, as they became aggressive inside. Mitty led 29-23 at the half.
Mitty had a huge third quarter as they extended their lead to 15, 46-31, heading into the fourth quarter. Gordon had 8 points in the quarter including the highlight dunk previously noted. Mitty blew this game open with their defense. Peterson and sophomore guard Dakari Monroe defended really well and were aggressive getting into the lane and free throw line as each had 3 points.
Sheldon cut the Mitty lead to 15 midway through the fourth quarter but were unable to mount a comeback. Mitty maintained their solid overall team defense and were patient on offense, using up time and getting quality looks at the basket as they coasted to a 70-50 victory in the Northern California Regional Final. Archbishop Mitty is now 28-5.
Gordon will face his Oakland Soldier teammate, 2014 5-star Stanley Johnson and the Mater Dei Monarchs on Saturday night at 8:00 on this same floor at Sleep Train Arena.
Sheldon is now 27-6 and this concludes the 4-year varsity high school careers of Allen and Williams, who will head to San Diego State.
Score by Quarters:
Sheldon--------------09-14-08-19 = 50
Archbishop Mitty---17-12-17-24 = 70
Sheldon (50): Partial - Antonio Lewis 13, Dakarai Allen 8, D'erryl Williams 7, Devin Greene 6, Darin Johnson 6, Chris Haney 3, Jordan Bradley 2.
Three Pointers: Lewis 1, Haney 1, Greene 1.
Archbishop Mitty (70): Aaron Gordon 29, Connor Peterson 11, Brandon Farrell 10, Davis Messer 5, Brandon Abajelo 4, John Paul Rindfleisch 4, Ian Aguilar 2, Tyler Gray 2, Samuel Serra 2, Ted Young 1.
Three Pointers: Peterson 1, Messer 1, Rindfleisch 1.
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