SAN JOSE -- Throughout the week, El Cerrito High boys basketball coach Michael Booker told his players to watch out for Archbishop Mitty point guard Matt McAndrews.
"He is the key to what they do," Booker said.
For the first 12 minutes, the players responded to their coach's scouting report as they built a 10-point lead. But after that, it was all McAndrews and Mitty as the Monarchs advanced to the semifinals of the Northern California Open Division playoffs with a 67-58 victory.
McAndrews, in his final home game, led Mitty with 32 points. Ben Kone, a 6-foot-8 sophomore transfer from Salesian, added 14 points and 18 rebounds, and senior Connor Peterson finished with 15 points.
Sayeed Pridgett had 23 points for El Cerrito (28-5), which ended its season with consecutive losses after it fell to Bishop O'Dowd in the North Coast Section Division III title game on March 8.
"They're a good team," Booker said of Mitty. "They're the defending champions. They don't get rattled. I think we got rattled towards the end of the second quarter, and it mushroomed from there. We could just never recover once they had the lead."
El Cerrito got off to a good start, clamping down defensively on Mitty's best perimeter shooters while opening a 25-15 lead midway through the second quarter.
But momentum quickly swung as Peterson drilled a 3-pointer and McAndrews scored on back-to-back possessions.
Mitty closed the half on a 17-4 run to take a 32-29 lead into the locker room.
El Cerrito was still within 37-33 midway through the third quarter, but another Mitty surge essentially put away the game.
McAndrews scored 12 of his points in the final quarter.
"It was one of those games where I was in the zone," McAndrews said. "We were down early, 25-15, and I was really just looking to get our team back in the game."
Mitty (27-4) advances to play at Capital Christian-Sacramento on Tuesday.