MODESTO — For Archbishop Mitty’s Joseph Vaughn, it really was the end on Wednesday night.
The Monarchs were eliminated from the CIF State basketball championship, losing to Modesto Christian 66-48 in the Northern California Open Division semifinals.
Next stop for Modesto Christian (26-7) is a date with Salesian on Saturday.
As for most of Vaughn’s teammates, they will return to Mitty next season. Of the 11 players on the Monarchs’ roster, only Vaughn and Timon Sun graduate. Everyone else returns.
Vaughn’s next stop is Yale University, where he will play linebacker and major in economics with a minor in computer science.
“We’re a young team,” Vaughn said of his teammates who will stay behind. “I’ll be very surprised if we don’t go on to do great things with a heavily senior lineup next year.”
Mitty coach Tim Kennedy started three juniors and a sophomore along with Vaughn against Modesto Christian.
The home team charged ahead 12-2 before Mitty narrowed it to three at 15-12 on a Michael Mitchell basket late in the first quarter. Then UC-Davis bound forward Aaron Murphy dropped in a 3-pointer for Modesto Christian right before the period ended for a six-point edge, and Mitty never got closer than that.
There was one brief stretch in the fourth quarter where the Monarchs crept within 10 points at 45-35, but Modesto Christian then went on a 15-3 run to make it 60-38. Back-to-back threes by Murphy and Devin Day ended any hope Mitty had of making a comeback.
“Modesto Christian has a heckuva team,” Kennedy said. “Great size. Great shooters.
“I was hoping we would perform a little bit better, but we came in with a little bit of nerves in that first half.”
The score was 33-18 at the intermission.
Mitty had only two players in double figures for the game. Marcus Greene scored 11 points and Mitchell added 10. Greene is a junior, Mitchell just a sophomore.
Modesto Christian put three players in double digits. Owen Browne led with 18, Murphy had 16 and Devin Day had 12. But it was Earv Knox who had the shot of the night, banking home a 3-pointer from just inside the half-court line as the first half clock ran out.
Vaughn had six points in his finale, including a 3-pointer from the baseline that concluded the scoring.
Asked if he is from San Jose or moved there from somewhere else, Vaughn said, “I’m from San Jose and I’ve never lived outside of it.”
Vaughn said he had football offers from most of the Ivy League, as well as Air Force and the University of San Diego.
He’s not planning to play basketball at Yale. “I don’t think I can play two sports there,” he said.
Getting back to Wednesday night’s loss, Vaughn said he felt like Mitty was prepared for everything Modesto Christian did.
“We knew a lot about Modesto Christian,” Vaughn said. “We knew they had good shooters and play-makers. At the end of the day, they are a very good team.”
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The Crusaders beat powerful James Logan by 20 points earlier this season, and they took unbeaten Salesian to overtime before losing by five. Their worst loss of the season was by 25 points (97-72) to fabled Oak Hills Academy of Virginia at the Mater Dei Nike Extravaganza in January.
As for Mitty, most of the problems Wednesday night occurred on offense.
“We struggled knocking down some shots,” Kennedy said. “We were able to get here early enough for a shoot-around at a local school. I thought we were ready to go.”