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Serra can’t close out Mitty
January 15, 2014, 05:00 AM By Nathan Mollat Daily Journal

Nathan Mollat/Daily Journal
Serra’s Danny Mahoney scored a team-high 15 points " hitting three 3-pointers " during the Padres’ 50-41 loss to Mitty in San Mateo Tuesday night.

The Serra basketball team played well for three quarters against visiting Mitty Tuesday night.

The Monarchs, however, played great in the fourth quarter. Mitty erased a 10-point, halftime deficit and outscored the Padres 19-4 over the final eight minutes to pull away for a 50-41 win.

“We played well,” said Serra coach Chuck Rapp. “I think we stopped moving the ball well (in the second half). … When we get away from it, it hurts us.”

Mitty (3-0 WCAL, 11-2 overall) trailed 29-19 at halftime and 37-31 after three quarters, but in the fourth, the Monarchs went to work and Serra (2-1, 9-4) could not buy a bucket. Serra managed just 12 points in the second half after scoring 29 in the first two quarters.

Mitty pulled out the win at the free throw line, hitting 14 of 22 attempts. Contrast that to Serra, which attempted just three — and missed them all.

A lot of that has to do with the fact the Padres just don’t have the size in the post. Especially against Mitty, which has 6-8 sophomore Ben Kone, who scored 15 points and pulled down 14 rebounds.

Instead, Serra relies primarily on its starting backcourt of guards Matt Watkins and Danny Mahoney. Both were on top of their game in the first half, as Mahoney scored 13 — nailing three 3-pointers in the process — while Watkins had six. Center Trevor Brown — who did a good job limiting Kone — was the only other Padre to hit a pair of buckets in the first half.

“The way this team is constructed, we depend a lot on our backcourt,” Rapp said. “We have to look to get the ball into the post (more).”

Mahoney ended the night with 15 points, Watkins with 10.

The Padres did get the ball down low just enough in the first half as they put together one of their best halves of the season. They smartly waited for Kone to move out of the middle before attacking the basket. Those dribble penetrations then opened up the Padres outside game and Mahoney and Watkins had a number of open looks from 3.

Mitty scored the first basket of the night, which was matched by a Watkins layup off the dribble drive. Kone then made 1 of 2 free throws and Sam Serra drained a 3 for a 6-2 Monarchs’ advantage.

The Padres responded with a 7-0 run, capped by a Mahoney 3 from the corner, to put them up 9-6.

The Padres led 13-10 after one quarter.

Serra extended its lead to 17-10 early in the second quarter when Brown knocked down a jumper and Watkins hit another layup.

After Mitty cut the lead to 17-13, Mahoney hit his second 3 of the half and Seth Bartlett converted a layup to put the Padres up 22-14.

It was all going Serra’s way when Mahoney hit a running 3 from the top of the key off an inbounds play just as the shot-clock buzzer sounded and the Padres led 25-17.

They made it an even 10-point lead at the half after Brown beat Kone off the dribble and floated a shot over him to put Serra up 29-19.

Serra still had the momentum in the third quarter, but Mitty came out on a mission. The Monarchs opened the second half with a 6-2 run, but back to back baskets from Brown and Mahoney pushed the Serra lead back to 10, 35-25.

It was still a 10-point Serra lead, 37-27, when Stephon Nettles scored on a layup with 2:50 left in the third, but it would be Serra’s last basket for nearly five minutes, a span that bridged the end of the third and beginning of the fourth quarter.

Mitty opened the fourth with a 7-0 run to take a 38-37 lead and the Monarchs steadily pulled away.

In the second half, Serra stopped attacking the rim and settled for contested jumpers. The Padres were 0 for 10 from behind the arc in the third and fourth quarters.

“We started to settle for jumpers after just one or two passes,” Rapp said.

The Padres are also missing a third scoring option. While there have been games where a third player has emerged, no one has done it consistently.

“That’s what we need,” Rapp said. “If we can find a third option, it puts us into another gear.”

While disappointed with the loss, Rapp knows there is still a lot of basketball to be played.

“It’s disappointing. Mitty is a big deal, especially at home. You want to defend your home court,” Rapp said. “But there’s a lot of basketball left.”



Tags: serra, mitty, padres, mahoney, third, watkins,

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