CIF boys basketball: Windsor no match for Mitty

By TED SILLANPAA
THE PRESS DEMOCRAT

SAN JOSE — Windsor High’s boys basketball team had the ingredients to pull off a tournament surprise, but Archbishop Mitty’s incredible Monarchs wound up feasting on the Jaguars.

Mitty’s sensational junior Aaron Gordon picked up two quick fouls Saturday and played just under four minutes without scoring a point in the first half. The Monarchs had 10 team fouls to leave the Jaguars shooting double-bonus free throws with 5 minutes, 28 seconds left in the first half.

That was about everything that Windsor could’ve hoped for to create a postseason stunner, but Mitty devoured the Jaguars and their playoff hopes.

Point guard Jack Biebel scored 17 points, had five steals and eight assists in the first half as Mitty roared to a 21-point lead at intermission before cruising to a 77-50 California Interscholastic Federation Northern California Regional quarterfinal win.
Gordon’s absence and the Monarchs’ foul difficulties didn’t slow Mitty at all.

“Gordon’s supposed to be the top junior player in the country and headed to a Division I college,” said Windsor head coach Steve Kramer.

“I think they played better without him in the game. They’re just an exceptional team. They were in foul trouble, but we just couldn’t really do anything.”

The Jaguars couldn’t get going because Biebel, a 5-foot-11 senior, couldn’t be stopped.

He put heavy pressure on the ball forcing Windsor to start its offense far from the basket. He made four breakaway layups off his own steals and three easy hoops off the dribble in halfcourt sets. When the Jaguars switched from man-to-man to a zone defense to keep him from penetrating, he found his teammates on the perimeter.

“He’s the most under-appreciated guy on our team,” said Mitty head coach Tim Kennedy. “Jack’s like this all the time defensively.

He’s a tough, aggressive defender. But, offensively, we don’t expect this type of game from him. He played an exceptional game tonight when we needed it.”

Windsor trailed just 13-9 after one period, but that’s when the Biebel thumping began.

Biebel grabbed a rebound, then dashed the length of the court. A stop-and-go dribble followed, before he took the ball behind his back and to the hoop to give Mitty a 19-10 lead.

Then, he passed to Connor Peterson cutting back-door to the hoop for an easy score and a three-point play. Biebel scored off another rebound and fullcourt burst in a 15-3 run to start the second quarter and give Mitty a 28-15 lead.

Biebel’s drive to the hoop as the shot clock expired upped the lead to 40-17 at halftime.

“We didn’t do anything we don’t normally do,” Kennedy said. “We just did it better. We’re always a team that puts a priority on pressuring the ball defensively and getting out in transition.”

Windsor couldn’t get the ball inside to 6-foot-9 Tanner Giddings in the first half. He finished with 10 points, but none came easy and six were on free throws.

“I don’t know what happened,” Giddings said. “They played man defense. I couldn’t post up. The guards had trouble getting me the ball.”
Giddings finished with 14 points.

“We pride ourselves on our post defense,” Kennedy said. “We needed it tonight with a quality player like (Giddings) out there. We deny all easy entry passes and we play three-quarter defense on the post man’s hip. It was effective for us.”

Biebel finished with 18 points. Neil Vranicar added 18, including three 3-pointers after
Windsor forced Mitty to call a timeout after going on a 12-1 run to cut the lead to 59-42 with 5:48 left in the third quarter.
Windsor’s Adam Garcia put back a missed shot.

Kameron Keich drove, scored and was fouled. He made the free throw before draining a 3-point shot to cut the margin to 59-42 and force Kennedy to use a timeout.

“I think we got discouraged in the first half,” Kramer said. “I saw that on their faces. But they didn’t quit. We cut it to what, 17 points? We, at least, made them call a timeout. The kids didn’t give up.”

Mitty’s dominance was pretty clear all night, but never clearer than a six-point spurt in the third quarter.
Vranicar scored on a back-door play that Mitty ran successfully throughout the game to up the lead to 50-25.

Biebel stole a pass and set up Gordon’s put-back dunk of a miss. Gordon then grabbed a defensive rebound and passed ahead to Vranicar who threw one down to extend the margin to 29 points.

“Mitty is by far the best team we played all year,” Kramer said.
Giddings disagreed, sort of.

“They aren’t better than any other team we played,” said the Fresno State-bound center. “They are as good as any team we played.”

How good?

After that timeout when the Jaguars cut the lead to 17 points, the Monarchs scored 14 straight points.

Kameron Richardson finished with eight points for Windsor. Gordon had nine points, none of any consequence, for Mitty.
Mitty improves to 28-3 entering the Northern California semifinal at home Tuesday. Windsor finished the season 28-7.