Mitchell girls headed back to state tourneyThe District 3AA championship game wasn’t another ho-hum rout by the Mitchell girls’ basketball team. Aberdeen Central finally gave the Kernels some competition. Mitchell — which has won its last seven games by at least 20 points — defeated the Golden Eagles 59-48 in a girls’ high school basketball game Thursday at the Corn Palace. The win qualified Mitchell to its second straight state tournament.
By: Luke Hagen, The Daily Republic
The District 3AA championship game wasn’t another ho-hum rout by the Mitchell girls’ basketball team.
Aberdeen Central finally gave the Kernels some competition.
Mitchell — which has won its last seven games by at least 20 points — defeated the Golden Eagles 59-48 in a girls’ high school basketball game Thursday at the Corn Palace. The win qualified Mitchell to its second straight state tournament.
“It’s very deserving with all of the work these kids put in,” said Mitchell girls’ basketball coach Wes Morgan, whose Eastern South Dakota Conference champion team won all 12 of its home games this year.
Despite the final 11-point edge, the Kernels were anything but comfortable for much of the game. It was much different from the Kernels’ 27-point blowout last week over Aberdeen.
“I told the kids all week that it wasn’t going to be like last time,” Morgan said. “We had to finish some shots, and it came down to some big baskets and some crucial turnovers.”
Mitchell’s Macy Miller and Kerri Young combined for 47 points. Young had a game-high 24 and Miller had 23 points and six rebounds.
Aberdeen Central 6-foot-2 junior Sami Knecht had 24 points, including 16 in the first half. But after the break, Mitchell focused on Aberdeen’s post play and used its usual up-tempo offense to keep the Golden Eagles at arm’s length.
“We were awfully flat last week when we were here,” Aberdeen coach Dawn Seiler said. “I thought our kids just looked a little sharper than they looked last week. Mitchell just played hard enough, and they made some breaks for themselves.”
Aberdeen traded baskets early in the first quarter and held a five-point lead midway through the second quarter on a score from Sara Niederbaumer. The Golden Eagles led by three with 1:26 left in the first half, but the Kernels got two buckets from Kerri Young, a steal from Macy Miller and a layup from Megan Farnham to take a four-point halftime advantage.
“That gave us some energy,” Morgan said.
After Mitchell’s quick six-point spurt before halftime, the Kernels never trailed. The Golden Eagles got within four points early in the third quarter, but Mitchell’s lead climbed to as many as 14 points in the final eight minutes.
“I think our team chemistry, we’re playing so well and we’re hard to stop,” said Young, a 6-foot junior. “We knew coming in, Aberdeen would be a pretty physical team. We didn’t start out very well, but after halftime we knew what we had to do to get it done.”
Aberdeen shot 48 percent from the field, but had 16 turnovers to Mitchell’s six. The Kernels also knocked down 15 of 17 free throws and hit 44 percent from the field. Kristin Sabers had a team-high seven rebounds.
Leah Beringer and Niederbaumer each added seven for Aberdeen, which was 9-of-15 from the free-throw line.
The Kernels’ next action is the first round of the Class AA state tournament, which starts on March 8 in Brookings.
ABERDEEN CENTRAL 48
Dana Misiaszek 1-4 0-0 2, Megan Farnham 1-2 1-1 3, Macy Miller 7-15 9-11 23, Kerri Young 9-20 5-5 24, Berkley Rietveld 0-0 0-0 0, Tori Houwman 0-0 0-0 0, Kristin Sabers 2-5 1-2 5, Torrie Michels 1-2 0-0 2, Emma Schmidt 0-0 0-0 0, Krista Huber 0-0 0-0 0, Courtney Moore 0-0 0-0 0, Taylor Volesky 0-0 0-0 0, Shelly Iburg 0-0 0-0 0, Totals 23-54 15-17 59
ABERDEEN CENTRAL (14-7)
Tiff Lundberg 0-2 0-0 0, Megan Jordre 1-3 0-0 2, Sami Knecht 7-15 6-6 24, Brynn Flakus 2-5 1-2 5, Kaley Schaunaman 0-5 1-2 1, Kelsey Hannigan 1-2 0-0 2, Rachel Unrich 0-0 0-2 0, Leah Beringer 3-6 0-0 7, Lauren McCafferty 0-0 0-0 0, Sara Niederbaumer 3-4 1-3 7, Totals 19-40 9-15 48
MHS 13 33 45 59
ACHS 16 29 38 48
3-Point Goals— Mitchell 2-6 (Young 1-4, Sabers 1-2). Aberdeen Central—1-5 (Jordre 0-2, Flakus 0-1, Beringer 1-2). Fouled out—none. Rebounds—Mitchell 26 (Kristin Sabers 7), Aberdeen 27 (Sami Knecht 7). Assists—Mitchell 5 (Megan Farnham 2), Aberdeen 5 (Megan Jordre 2). Totals Fouls— Mitchell 13, Aberdeen 15.