SAN JOSE -- With Joey Frenchwood lighting up the scoreboard with an avalanche of 3-pointers, Newark Memorial charged to a double-digit lead in the first quarter against Mitty on Saturday night.
But once the host Monarchs regrouped, they turned their big deficit into a big lead and went on to a 63-51 victory before a capacity crowd of 1,280 in the quarterfinals of the Northern California Open Division Regional.
The Monarchs move on to play Modesto Christian at Mitty on Tuesday night.
Newark Memorial's season, which included Mission Valley Athletic League and North Coast Section championships, is over.
Aaron Gordon led Mitty with 14 points, 17 rebounds, four assists and two blocks. Frenchwood had 19 points for Newark Memorial, although only five after the first quarter.
The way Frenchwood dominated the first quarter, it looked as if Newark Memorial (23-8) was destined to avenge its loss to Mitty in the NorCal Division II final last season. Frenchwood had four 3-pointers in the opening quarter as the Cougars built an 18-7 lead.
But momentum started to swing in Mitty's favor when the 6-foot-8 Gordon scooped up a loose ball near the opposite free-throw line, dribbled behind his back at midcourt and lit a surge into the crowd with an NBA-worthy dunk.
"You saw it change the momentum because he was able to get going," Mitty coach Tim Kennedy said. "And it brought the crowd into it. Any time he gets a highlight dunk, it gets everybody going, gets the adrenaline going. That was huge."
Newark Memorial still led 29-26 at halftime, but the third quarter was one neither team will forget as Mitty (27-5) scored the first 15 points to open a 41-29 lead.
"We stopped turning the ball over," Gordon said. "That's basically all it came down to. We had like 15 turnovers early. Once we stopped turning the ball over, we were able to bring up our point efficiency, and we were able to get stops on defense."
Newark Memorial coach Craig Ashmore used all of his allotted timeouts during the run, but the talks with his players did not stop the Mitty express.
"It was a great first half, and they adjusted," Ashmore said. "Give them the credit. They had a great second half, and that third quarter was tough on us. We just couldn't get it stopped."