Sports

Mitty girls get the best of Eastside Prep again

 

The Eastside Prep and Mitty girls helped tip off the first-ever Central Coast Section Open Division basketball playoffs last year. Both teams lost their openers before meeting in the consolation round.

There, the Monarchs got the best of the Panthers in overtime.

The teams met again on Tuesday night, with a title on the line in the annual Coaches vs. Cancer Classic in East Palo Alto. Once again it was Mitty coming out on top, 45-37, in a battle between two of the better teams in the CCS.

Eastside Prep fell to 10-2 while Mitty improved to 8-2 and snapped a nine-game win streak by the Panthers.

"I'm pleased with the effort, these are the games that are going to help us down the road," said Panthers head coach Donovan Blythe. "I've got three freshman and three seniors and to be able to do what they are doing is unbelievable."

With just over two minutes left in the fourth quarter, Mitty junior guard Jahny Anderson spotted up for a three and sank it. Anderson then stole the ball on the Panthers' inbound and scored on a layup, giving the Monarchs a 41-32 lead with time running out.

In the first quarter, Mitty sophomore Heleyna Hill knocked down a jumper with 15 seconds left and gave the Monarchs the 13-11 advantage.

Eastside Prep kept it close in the second quarter when freshman guard Kayla Tahaafe sank two free throws, cutting it to a 19-18 Mitty lead going into halftime. Tahaafe finished with 11 points, including nine free throws.

"I think the freshmen grew up tonight," said Blythe. "Kayla (Tahaafe) is just a freshman so she's going to be around for another three years -- I think she's going to be real good."

The Panthers' offense couldn't get anything going in the third quarter as it could only manufacture three points. Eastside Prep made just two field goals in the second and third quarters combined.

Eastside senior Brije Byers, who averaged 18.3 points coming into the game, was limited to a season-low two points by Mitty's tough defense.

"This is one of the best defensive teams we've played since preseason," said senior Destiny Graham. "We just have a lot of things to work on."

At the start of the fourth quarter, the Panthers took advantage of a couple Mitty turnovers and took the lead, 26-25, on Graham's two converted free throws.

The Monarchs climbed back when senior Taylor Todd drained a 3-pointer from the corner giving Mitty a 30-28 lead.

Anderson, who was named the tournament's Most Valuable Player, sealed the win for Mitty when she drove in with 50 seconds and scored.

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