By Lamonte Dewindt
Just like in last season’s trilogy between the Sacred Heart Cathedral and Mitty boys basketball teams, a Monarchs post player found a way to dominate the Irish inside.
The only difference this year is that the player was not standout forward Aaron Gordon.
This time it was 6-foot-5 forward Brandon Farrell and his 12 first-quarter points were the difference in Mitty’s 69-57 West Catholic Athletic League road win Friday night.
A steal and score by Sacred Heart senior point guard Khalil James tied the game up at 24-24 with 3:07 remaining in the second quarter before Mitty used a 12-4 run to close the half.
The Irish (12-5, 5-2) then opened the half trading baskets with the Monarchs (13-3, 7-0) and it finally seemed as if they were going to go on a game-altering run. Sacred Heart trailed 40-35 with just under four minutes remaining in the third quarter, but Mitty was able to grab control of the game for good.
The Monarchs scored back-to-back baskets, as a part of an 11-4 run, highlighted by a three-point play by Gordon, and pushed the lead to 44-35. Right before the quarter break, Gordon again scored while being fouled to extend the Mitty lead to double digits and the Irish were never able to get back within striking distance.
Junior guard DeOndre Otis had a team-high 16 points for the Irish, with 11 coming in the first half, and was the only Sacred Heart player to reach double figures, although 10 players scored. The Irish shot 36 percent from the floor as a team.
“We missed a few shots – point blank – and against these guys that’s critical,” said Sacred Heart head coach Darrell Barbour. “I thought we didn’t make some shots that we normally make.”
The reletively-undersized Irish struggled with the height of the Mitty bigs and were outrebounded by a 40-17 margin.
“Off the ball, our guys didn’t rotate to the paint to help . . . and that’s what hurt us,” Barbour said. “Because when you look at that first quarter and a half, if you take two or three baskets away from [Farrell] the [game is] different.”
Gordon was not short on production, and finished with a game-high 24 points and 20 rebounds, but wasn’t exactly efficent. The standout senior shot 9-of-20 from the field and 6-of-12 from the free-throw line, and the Irish forced him into many difficult looks near the basket.
Sacred Heart guard Herman Pratt was called upon to stop the 6-foot-8 standout for most of the game and did a solid job containing Gordon and even forced a jump ball in the first half.
The Monarchs still shot 48 percent from the field as a whole and were forced into 18 turnovers by the Irish defense.
“We knew it was going to be a battle,” said Mitty head coach Tim Kennedy. “Any time you come up to the City you know you’re going to be in a war.”
Sacred Heart Cathedral
DeOndre Otis – 16
Khalil James – 9
Herman Pratt – 8
David Parsons – 7
Two players tied with 4 points
Aaron Gordon – 24
Brandon Farrell – 15
Matt McAndrews – 7
Two players tied with 5 points