LOS ALTOS HILLS -- The Archbishop Mitty girls were determined Saturday night. Having lost to Sacred Heart Cathedral twice this season, losses that cost the Monarchs a league championship, Mitty had one more shot in the West Catholic Athletic League tournament final.
It took more than determination to beat Sacred Heart, but the Monarchs finally got over the hump, edging the Irish 54-50 in an overtime thriller at Foothill College.
"We were definitely hungry," Brown-bound senior Emily Dinger said. "It was definitely a goal for us to come out and just give us our all -- and that's what we did."
For Mitty to win, it took lockdown defense in the fourth quarter and overtime, and it took a big night offensively from Dinger, who scored 22 points.
After a back-and-forth opening quarter, Mitty trailed until Vanessa Garner drove for a layup, drew a foul and swished a free throw.
Dinger followed with a 3-pointer and Sami Oliver made a free throw to stretch Mitty's lead to 45-40 with 5:23 to play.
But Sacred Heart wasn't done.
Ge'anna Summers-Luaulu, who led the Irish with 18 points, scored two baskets down the stretch, including a spinning drive to the basket that the tied the score 45-45 with 1:15 left.
Both teams had chances to break the tie in the final minute. But the defenses were too good, and they needed an extra four minutes to settle the outcome.
Sacred Heart took a 48-47 lead as Briannah Smith scored and
Mitty, the reigning Division II state champion, had lost to Sacred Heart 56-51 at home in January and 47-43 in San Francisco on Feb. 7.
"Even though we had lost twice, I felt we were in both games," Mitty coach Sue Phillips said.
Archbishop Mitty 69, Serra 50: Late in the first quarter of the WCAL boys tournament final, Mitty star Aaron Gordon drove through the lane and got fouled hard by Serra's Matt Dickerson.
The two got tangled under the basket, and an exchange occurred. The referees called double technical fouls, giving Gordon a third foul just 6:18 into the game.
Even with the 6-foot-8 forward stuck on the bench the rest of the half, Mitty turned a tight game into a 13-point halftime lead and went on to win the title in convincing fashion.
"My teammates really picked me up," Gordon said. "They stepped up, hit big shots and played good defense. That's what made the difference."
It was a dazzling first half for two-time defending state champion Mitty, which ended it with guard Connor Peterson dribbling behind his back to avoid a defender and then passing to Brandon Abajelo on the wing. The senior buried a 3-pointer in front of the Serra student section to give the Monarchs a 32-19 halftime cushion.
"That was just a great play -- Connor is a great passer, a great dribbler," Abajelo said. "I knew he was going to give it to me. I just had to knock it down."
Peterson led Mitty with 13 points. Abajelo had 12 points -- 10 in the first half -- and Gordon finished with 11.
Henry Caruso led Serra with 21 points.
The victory was Mitty's second in three games this season against Serra and gave the Monarchs both the league's regular-season and tournament championships.