SAN JOSE — Despite being down for more than half of Saturday’s game against Serra, Archbishop Mitty showed no signs of panic.
Even as the Padres hit shot after shot in the first half, Monarchs’ coach Tim Kennedy continued to bring energy to his team and kept telling them their run was coming.
The enthusiasm and calm under pressure paid off as Mitty mounted a second half comeback to defeat Serra 58-50 and earn a gritty West Catholic Athletic League win.
Tyler Jones scored a game-high 18 points and Nathan d’Abreu Noronha added 17 points for the Monarchs.
Sebastian Margate led Serra with 14 points.
Archbishop Mittyxe2x80x99s Nathan d’Abreu-Noronha (2) drives the ball in front of Serraxe2x80x99s Andrew Mcdowell (1) in the first half at Archbishop Mitty High School in San Jose, Calif., on Jan. 27, 2024. (Brandon Vallance for the Bay Area News Group)
“We got a lot of senior leadership where they’ve been in these situations,” Kennedy said. “To win these tough games says a lot about you and what you’re made of. Being able to do that in the WCAL separates who will have a great season or not.”
A hot-shooting first half gave Serra control of the game early.
Down seven at halftime, the Monarchs mounted their comeback on the defensive end.
Serraxe2x80x99s Mikey Ballout (10) shoots the ball over Archbishop Mittyxe2x80x99s Nathan d’Abreu-Noronha (2) and Grayson Jalal (24) in the first half at Archbishop Mitty High School in San Jose, Calif., on Jan. 27, 2024. (Brandon Vallance for the Bay Area News Group)
Mitty went into a full court press and forced four turnovers from it. The Monarchs went on a 15-7 run to open the third that ended with guard Mason Ryan stealing a pass and laying it up on the other end to give Mitty its first lead of the game.
Once the avalanche started, the snow kept falling.
Archbishop Mittyxe2x80x99s head coach Tim Kennedy instructs his team in the second half against Serra at Archbishop Mitty High School in San Jose, Calif., on Jan. 27, 2024. (Brandon Vallance for the Bay Area News Group)
The Monarchs outscored the Padres 20-11 in the third quarter and led 42-40 heading into the fourth.
Noronha was key down the stretch, scoring eight points in the fourth quarter alone. The dagger shot came when the ball found guard Aaron Biebel in the left corner and he drilled a 3-pointer to make the score 55-47 Mitty with just under 50 seconds left in the game.
“We just kept our foot on the gas,” Noronha said. “We knew there was going to be runs back and forth, but we just had to keep it going throughout.”
Serra struggled with fouls for the majority of Saturday’s game. Padres’ guard Ryan Pettis was forced to sit for a majority of the second quarter after picking up his third foul and eventually fouled out with five minutes left in the fourth quarter. The Monarchs attempted 26 free throws for the game and made 18.
“You got to talk to the refs about (the fouls), but I think it definitely impacted the game,” said Serra coach Chuck Rapp. “My whole thing is we gotta control what we can control and we just got to do a better job of keeping our head.”
It has been a grind for both teams as they have played three games in the past six days. The WCAL will go back to its normal week format as teams will play just twice in a single week.
“I think it helps that we get a little bit more practice time,” Kennedy said. “We get a little time now to watch a little bit of film and clean up some of the things that we need as we make this push for the end of the season.”
Mitty improved to 14-5, 8-1 while Serra is now 14-5, 6-3.
Archbishop Mittyxe2x80x99s Tyler Jones (3) (left), Aaron Biebel (4) (middle), and Nathan d’Abreu-Noronha (2) (right) walk off the court after a win against Serra at Archbishop Mitty High School in San Jose, Calif., on Jan. 27, 2024. (Brandon Vallance for the Bay Area News Group)