The end was emphatic and unkind, and it had the fingerprints of Aaron Gordon all over the evidence.
Sheldon High School's dream of making regional history ended Saturday night at Sleep Train Arena largely because of the marvelously gifted Gordon, a 6-foot-9 McDonald's All-American already on the NBA radar.
The Huskies normally outnumber solo standouts with their balanced lineup. But Gordon was too much, getting 29 points and 22 rebounds to lead Archbishop Mitty of San Jose to a 70-50 win in the first CIF Northern California Open Division championship game.
The Open was devised by the CIF this season to lump all the elite powers together, regardless of division. Gordon also is in an elite class, on his way to becoming a two-time Cal-Hi Sports State Player of the Year as he seeks his third successive state title in one of the most decorated careers in state history.
Mitty won the previous two Division II championships, making for a 5-0 Mitty record at Sleep Train under Gordon and coach Tim Kennedy.
Sheldon (27-6) won the NorCal D-I title last season, beating rival Jesuit before falling in the state finals to national power Mater Dei of Santa Ana. Mater Dei returns to Sleep Train next Saturday to face Mitty (28-5) for the Open state championship as it seeks a state three-peat, the last two in D-I.
There's no shame in losing to a program of national renown like Mitty or to a player like Gordon, who has dominated for three seasons and is averaging 20 points and 20 rebounds in the playoffs this season.
Sheldon had shredded defenses with offensive balance and precision passing. But shots that normally drop curled off the rim or were short, thanks partly to Gordon's long arms, and Mitty opened a double-digit lead by the third quarter.
Longtime Cal-Hi Sports editor Mark Tennis said Gordon is the best Northern California talent since St. Joseph of Alameda's Jason Kidd, who wowed crowds at what was then Arco Arena in winning back-to-back D-I state titles in 1991 and '92.
"Sheldon has really good players that went against an NBA lottery pick in a few years with a good team around him," Tennis said. "That's the difference."
Gordon put his full game on display. He handled the ball. He made passes. He drove the lane, powered inside, dunked and blocked shots. He also guarded Sheldon's leading scorer, 6-4 guard Darin Johnson, regularly on the perimeter.
Kennedy feared Johnson torching his team. Johnson scored 24 points in a semifinal overtime win over state-ranked No. 1 Salesian of Richmond. But he was 0 for 8 from the floor Saturday and had six points, 14 below his average.
Sheldon closed a prolific era with Dakarai Allen and D'Erryl Williams, the senior captains headed to San Diego State. They won 109 career games and a large-school Sac-Joaquin Section record four consecutive D-I titles. Allen scored eight and Williams seven.
Teammate Antonio Lewis scored 13 and was presented the CIF Sportsmanship Award after the game.
"We'll miss all these guys," Sheldon coach Joey Rollings said. "It's been a great group."