Mar. 19—RAPID CITY — Mitchell High School's sluggish first-half performance cost the Kernels on Friday, as they fell to Brandon Valley 76-65.
After shooting just 20% from the field in the first half and falling into a 24-point hold after three quarters, Mitchell's big run late in the game wasn't enough to win against the Lynx in Friday's consolation round at the State AA boys basketball tournament.
Powered by a second-half in which Mitchell shot 65 percent from the field, the Kernels pulled within eight points with less than a minute left. But Brandon Valley's offense never faltered, hanging a season-high 76 points on Mitchell's defense and sending Mitchell (15-8) to the seventh-place matchup on Saturday afternoon at the Rushmore Plaza Civic Center. That game will be against Harrisburg at 1 p.m. Central.
"We came back but we didn't come out ready to go," Mitchell coach Todd Neuendorf said. "You can't be down 23-2. They didn't guard us. They put two guys on Hink and three guys along the baseline ... If we knock down a few shots, we're able to get them out of that defense but we couldn't do that."
From the opening tip, Brandon Valley's used its up-tempo offense to jump out to a 14-3 lead over the Kernels mid-way through the first quarter. The Lynx proceeded to shoot lights out to end the quarter, going 69% from the field and extending their lead to 23-2. The Kernels were 1 of 16 shooting from the field after one quarter of play, and were 2 of 21 at the midway point of the second quarter.
Neuendorf said the Kernels were struck by Brandon Valley's defensive tactics, which included double-teaming Caden Hinker and piling three guys along the baseline to take away 6-foot-10 Zane Alm.
In the second half, when Mitchell's Lucas Moller made four 3-pointers, BV went to a triangle-and-two zone defense, keeping one guy on the senior sharpshooter Moller.
"We were a little shocked about the triangle and two," Neuendorf said. "We had practiced against it earlier in the year ... There's not really an offense you can run against that, there's nothing you can run. You just have to hit shots and they're daring other guys to make theirs."
In the first half, some of Mitchell's young players delivered needed offensive production, with sophomore Dylan Soulek scoring five points and Gavyn Degen scoring six points off the bench, bringing the Kernels to within 12 points at the intermission, despite shooting 20 percent.
With the help of Moller's shooting in the fourth quarter, Mitchell had a 17-4 run to get the Brandon Valley lead down to 64-53 with 3:03 remaining, with a three-quarter court press helping for Mitchell to speed up the Lynx' offense. Moments later, Hinker had a 3-pointer that cut the advantage to eight points but Mitchell was not able to get closer. Moller, who battled foul trouble all night, also fouled out with 3 minutes left, ending with 12 points.
After going scoreless for much of the first-half, Michell's leading scorers Zane Alm and Caden Hinker began to find their rhythm on the offensive end of the court. Alm worked the paint and put up 10 of 18 points in the second-half to help narrow the deficit. Hinker used his mid-range jumper to put up seven of his nine points late in the game.
Offensively for Brandon Valley, it was a tale of two halves, with Jackson Hilton scoring 13 in the first half and finishing with 22, while Jaksen Deckert gave the Kernels headaches on both ends of the floor, as the guard chipped in 15 points, including 13 after halftime. Aydin Lloyd also scored 12 points for Brandon Valley, which will play Aberdeen Central for fifth place Saturday. The Brandon Valley victory answered one of Mitchell's biggest regular-season wins, a 70-47 win at the Corn Palace on Jan. 19. Until the state tournament, it was Brandon Valley's lowest-scoring performance of the season.
Neuendorf said he has little doubt that Mitchell will be motivated on Saturday to finish the season with a victory.
"I know they will be," he said. "When you make shots, people get excited and Brandon did that today, including from some guys who don't always do that for them. If we make those shots, we'd be jumping around, too."
Brandon Valley 76, Mitchell 65
Mitchell (15-8): Aiden Myers 0-0 0-0 0, Landon Waddell 0-0 0-0 0, Jackson Childs 0-0 0-0 0, Jonah Schmidt 0-0 1-2 1, Lucas Moller 4-6 0-0 12, Caden Hinker 3-7 2-3 9, Ben Helleloid 2-7 0-0 5, Dylan Soulek 4-8 1-1 9, Gavyn Degen 3-10 2-2 9, A.J. Siemsen 0-0 0-0 0, Zane Alm 4-12 10-11 18, Steele Morgan 1-2 0-0 2. Totals 21-52 16-19 65
Brandon Valley (16-7): Dawson Johnson 3-7 3-4 9, Nate Lear 1-3 0-0 2, Jaksen Deckert 4-10 7-10 15, Carter Van Heel 0-1 0-0 0, Max Vanwesten 0-0 0-0 0, Matt Brown 0-0 0-0 0, Joe Kolbeck 0-0 0-0 0, Aydin Lloyd 3-5 3-4 12, Riley Miller 0-0 1-2 1, Payton Tietjen 2-6 1-4 5, Jackson Hilton 7-14 4-6 22, Mason Padgett 0-0 0-0 0, Sam Scholten 0-0 0-0 0, Jay Jurgens 5-6 0-0 10, Wes Dewitt 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 25-52 19-30 76.
MHS — 2 20 36 65
BV — 23 32 60 76
FG%: MHS .404, BV .481. 3-pt FG: MHS 7-25 (Moller 4-6, Hinker 1-4, Helleloid 1-5, Soulek 0-2, Degen 1-7, Morgan 0-1), BV 7-15 (Johnson 0-1, Deckert 0-1, Lloyd 3-4, Hilton 4-9). Rebounds: MHS 29 (Soulek 7), BV 30 (Team 5, Lloyd 5). Fouls MHS 19, BV 20. Fouled out: Moller, Tietjen. Technical: none. Assists: MHS 10 (Soulek 3), BV 10 (Johnson 3, Deckert 3). Steals: MHS 1 (Soulek 1), BV 7 (Hilton 2). Blocked shots: MHS 3 (Hinker 2), BV 0. Turnovers: MHS 12, BV 5.