Timberwolves rally late, beat Mitty in overtime

Woodcreek boys to face St. Francis in NorCal final
By: Kurt Johnson, The Press Tribune
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On its way to the Bay Area Saturday afternoon, the Woodcreek High boys basketball team took a little detour past Arco Arena. "The guys looked out the window and said there was our second home," said Woodcreek coach Burnel Pinkerton. "We are 2-0 there and we wanted to get back one more time." It took the Timberwolves a while to get going, but they figured it out in the fourth period just in time. The result was a 91-83 overtime win over Archbishop Mitty that propels Woodcreek back to that second home, Arco Arena, and a berth in the Northern California Division II final. As if the commute to the South Bay was not enough, the Timberwolves' journey was made more difficult when the school van blew a tire with Pinkerton and seven of his players aboard. No one was injured in the incident, but it could be understood if they were shaken. "Someone was watching out for us," Pinkerton said. "Every one of those players had every right to be shaken up." Even that incident could not derail the Woodcreek express on this night. The Monarchs (21-9), the No. 1 seed in the NorCal bracket, were firing on all cylinders early, as they built a 21-15 lead after one period and increased that to an eight-point margin by intermission. The Woodcreek deficit was 10 points after three stanzas, but midway through the fourth all of that changed. "They came out and hit us in the mouth and we did not respond well," Pinkerton said. "About midway through the fourth quarter, we decided that we were not going to take it any more." Woodcreek outscored Mitty 22-12 in the fourth quarter to even the contest and force overtime. The domination continued in the extra session as the Timberwolves dropped 16 more points on the Monarchs to claim the victory. "It was one of the great comebacks of all time, to beat them on their court like that," Pinkerton said. As it always is with this team, this was a team victory. Pinkerton played 11 guys and that led to fresh legs coming down the stretch for his team. "It's not going to be in the stat sheet, but Devin Murphy was a guy who had a great night for us," Pinkerton said. "This was a total team effort. I know we say that every night, but we got a lot of contributions from a lot of people. That's who we are." Woodcreek went to a small lineup for a while, with three guards in Murphy alongside starters Ryan Sondhi and Ryan Milat and it was very effective. Center Mike Kurtz led a balanced Woodcreek scoring effort with 19 points, while Nik Milani scored 18. Sondhi scored five of his 17 in the overtime period, and Milat talled with 15 points for Woodcreek. The No. 4 seeded Timberwolves (28-5) will face No. 2 St. Francis of Mountain View (29-3) at 4 p.m. Saturday in the Northern California final at Arco Arena. St. Francis was a 53-39 winner over Oakmont in the other NorCal semifinal Saturday night. The winner of the NorCal final advances to the CIF State Championship game March 26 in Bakersfield.