Rebounding battle dooms Kernels in loss to O'Gorman
Tom Young kept yelling the same message across the Corn Palace floor.
"Get a rebound," was being said like a broken record from the Kernels' head basketball coach.
In a game against Sioux Falls O'Gorman Saturday at the Mike Miller Classic, rebounding doomed the Kernels, who fell to the Knights 56-51 in a nonconference boys' high school basketball game.
"What's been our problem all year is we didn't rebound very well," Young said. "If we rebound evenly with them, we win the game."
O'Gorman outrebounded Mitchell 40-25 and got two huge offensive boards in the final two minutes that helped peel precious time off the clock while the Kernels were trailing. The Kernels had a chance to take the lead in the final 15 seconds when senior Seth Cavanaugh missed two free throws. The 6-foot-3 guard also missed a long 3-pointer in the final seconds that could have tied the game.
Cavanaugh finished with a team-best 25 points, including 15 in the first half that helped Mitchell never trail for the first 18 minutes.
"They're just like us on paper," said Sioux Falls O'Gorman coach Derek Robey, who's led his team to three straight Class AA state championships, including the last two over the Kernels. "They're trying to find their rhythm and trying to find their rotations.
"For us, you're coming to the Corn Palace and you're going up against a very well-coached team," Robey said. "You're in this environment, and this could make or break a season for us. We really believe that. That's the way we went into this game."
O'Gorman took its first lead of the game on the first bucket of the second half, a three-point play from Tyler Pals, who had a game-best nine rebounds. The game was tied at 37 and 44 before O'Gorman went ahead by fourpoints on a put-back from Ben Johnson with 4:19 to play. About two minutes later, Mitchell's Beau Brown scored from inside and Cavanaugh recorded a three-point play that fired up the Kernels' bench to pull within one point at 52-51.
"I knew it was going to be a battle coming down of who made the last plays," said Young, who then noted the two offensive rebounds that O'Gorman had late in the game.
O'Gorman's Kyle Scholten had a game-high 30 points, knocking down five 3-pointers and scoring 18 in the second half. The Knights were 22-of-57 from the field and had 13 turnovers to Mitchell's eight. Mitchell was 20-of-48 from the field.
Still, despite shooting a higher percentage from the field, having less turnovers and holding the lead for most of the game, rebounding is the most important statistic the Kernels' coach is looking at.
"We have to figure out how to rebound," Young said. "That's the message every day."
The Kernels (2-6) are back in action next when they host Aberdeen for a 7:30 p.m. game Saturday at the Corn Palace.
SIOUX FALLS O'GORMAN 56,
Kyle Scholten 12-20 1-2 30, Braxton Elliott 1-7 2-2 4, Connor Nagel 1-6 2-2 4, Tyler Pals 2-6 1-1 5, Ben Johnson 2-2 0-0 4, Davis Cowan 2-5 0-0 5, Max Donohue 1-4 0-0 2, Spencer Hopkins 0-2 0-0 0, Tommy Entwistle 1-5 0-0 2. Totals: 22-57 6-7 56.
Cole Morgan 3-5 0-0 8, Jared Schmidt 3-4 0-0 7, Seth Cavanaugh 9-22 4-7 25, Beau Brown 4-9 0-0 8, Josh Schmidt 0-1 0-0 0, Ethan Jones 0-2 1-2 1, Jon Jamison 0-2 0-0 0, Evan Mastel 1-3 0-0 2. Totals: 20-48 5-9 51.
Halftime: Mitchell 23-21. 3-point goals: SFOG 6-20 (Scholten 5, Cowan 1), MHS 6-23 (Cavanaugh 3, Morgan 2, Jar. Schmidt 1). Rebounds: SFOG 40 (Pals 9), MHS 25 (Cavanaugh 5, Jamison 5). Assists: SFOG 7 (Elliott 6), MHS 10 (Brown 5). Turnovers: SFOG 13, MHS 8. Total fouls: SFOG 13, MHS 11. Fouled Out: Jones, MHS. Technical fouls: None.