Season ends for Kernel boys with loss to Aberdeen Central
By JACQUE SCOBY
ABERDEEN — Aberdeen Central used a friendly ally to keep its season alive, while Mitchell’s season ended in the District 3AA third-place game Friday in Aberdeen.
The Golden Eagles went 27-for-35 from the free throw line to overcome a cold start to the night from the floor and came away with a 72-60 win over Mitchell Friday night at Golden Eagles Arena.
The loss secured the first time Mitchell has not made the Class AA state tournament in back-to-back seasons since 1981 and 1982. The Kernels finish 1-21 in coach Erik Skoglund’s first year.
Central shot just 23.1 percent from the floor — including 0-for-6 from long range — in the first half, struggling to convert on contested shots.
So, in lieu of taking points two-by-two, the Golden Eagles started taking them one-by-one from the free throw line. That opened the floodgates in the second half, as the Golden Eagles erupted for 50 points and a 60.9 percent second-half shooting effort in the final two stanzas.
“We love giving up long twos, and that’s what we were able to do for the most part,” Mitchell head coach Erik Skoglund said, crediting his team’s defensive pressure in the first half. “Then all of a sudden in the third quarter, they hit a few of those and that really blew the game open.”
Unwilling to concede the game without a discussion, the Kernels rallied in the fourth, cutting the Central lead to just four points after a Beau Brown conventional three-point play.
Central’s Jesse Babcock then drilled a three-pointer from the far corner and the Kernels would not recover.
“I think there were so many big little plays in that game,” Central head coach Brent Norberg said. “You look at Logan LeGrand at 5-foot-8, getting 10 rebounds is big. Jesse Babcock’s three in the corner when they cut it to four, that’s a gigantic shot. Trey Vilhauer didn’t play a lot, but 30-second stretch that he played where he gets a steal and a layup, that was huge… So many guys made plays.”
Brown scored 24 points to lead the Kernels, but Mitchell struggled to find a secondary scorer. Central, which gave up 16 points to Mitchell senior Derek Miller in the last meeting between the two teams, was able to neutralize Miller in Friday’s contest. Miller finished 0-for-8 from the field and scored just one point from the free-throw line.
“We play these guys tight for two games, and really this game is probably closer than 12 points,” said Skoglund. “Very uncharacteristic of some of our guys going 0-for.”
Offensively, the Golden Eagles put four starters in double figures and got scoring contributions from all eight players to see the floor. Anthony Bachmeier and Jacob Goehring finished with 17 points apiece.
Aberdeen Central (4-18) moves on to play Rapid City Stevens at Sturgis Tuesday at 6 p.m. (Mountain Time) in the Region 2AA contest. Stevens defeated Sturgis 62-56 on Friday.
Mitchell 60 Aberdeen Central 72
Jaron Weich 3 0-0 9, Derek Miller 0 1-2 1, Beau Brown 10 1-1 24, Neil Schlimgen 3 0-3 6, Kanin Nelson 3 2-3 8, Tyler Houwman 1 0-0 3, Connor Morgan 3 0-0 7, Ethan Jones 1 0-0 2. Totals 24 4-9 60.
Jesse Babcock 4 0-0 10, Anthony Bachmeier 5 7-9 17, Jacob Goehring 4 8-9 17, Logan LeGrand 2 9-10 14, Tyler Block 1 1-3 3, Trey Vilhauer 1 0-0 2, Cannon Hannigan 1 1-2 4, Tevin Johnson 2 1-2 5. Totals 20 27-35 72.
M 14 26 38 60 AC 10 22 47 72
3-point field goals — Weich 3, Brown 3, Houwman, Morgan, Babcock 2, Goehring, LeGrand, Hannigan. Total fouls — Mitchel 28; Central 14. Fouled out — Weich, Miller, Nelson. Rebounds — Mitchell 31 (Brown 8); Central 37 (LeGrand 10). Assists — Mitchell 7 (Miller 3); Central 10 (LeGrand 4). Turnovers — Mitchell 28; Central 21. Steals — Mitchell 11 (Jones 5); Central 8 (Babcock 3).