Analy-Miramonte: 109 seconds of hell and other postgame musings

Posted by Staff Writer Eric Branch:
* I know Miramonte was seeded sixth and was 16-12. And I know Analy was seeded second and was 29-1.
But I’m not sure Miramonte’s 70-67 overtime victory over Analy in the North Coast Section Division III semifinals Wednesday was much of an upset.
The Matadors were good. Really good. They had height — their frontline went 6-4, 6-5 and 6-6 — and they used their length to block at least eight Analy shots. Many of those blocks were in the second quarter, when the Tigers went 1 of 13 from the field and scored five points.
Miramonte also has five seniors who played last year and their experience paid off. The Matadors looked rattled by the Tigers’ thunderous crowd in the opening minutes and committed four quick turnovers. But they had enough poise to recover, committing three turnovers in the second and third quarters while routinely whipping the ball around to create open shots.
How a team that played so unselfishly on offense and with such passion on defense was once 11-12 is perplexing. Miramonte wasn’t guaranteed a playoff spot a month ago, but they have since won six straight, avening earlier defeats to Campolindo and Acalanes in the process.
“Something clicked about three weeks ago,” Miramonte coach Dave Brown said. “Something turned on and it hasn’t turned off. Knock on wood.”
* Analy’s 8-0 run in a span of one minute and 49 seconds in the final minutes of regulation was an example of the Tigers’ breakneck style being played at its highest level.
Looking back, the whole sequence is kind of a blur. That could be because each time I wrote something in my notebook, there was another steal. Or lay-up. Miramonte didn’t call a timeout to at least temporarily halt the onslaught and the result was, to borrow from Nolan Richardson, 109 seconds of hell.
* Brown, Miramonte’s coach, was gracious in victory, sounding quite genuine when he talked about his admiration for Analy and its frenetic style of play. Brown was also gracious in defeat after Analy upset Miramonte in overtime in the NCS finals last year.
I spoke with Brown after that game and he talked glowingly about Tigers guard Max Fujii, who had doomed the Matadors with 32 points. In talking with Brown on Wednesday night, I mentioned how classy he was after last year’s game. But Brown said it had nothing to do with him being a particularly great guy.
“I was still in shock,” he explained.