Kernels beat Central 67-42 in first round of state tournamentBROOKINGS — So fast, but under control.
By: Luke Hagen, The Daily Republic
BROOKINGS — So fast, but under control.
That’s the way Rapid City Central coach Kraig Blomme described the Mitchell girls’ basketball team after the Kernels beat the Cobblers 67-42 at the first round of the Class AA state tournament Thursday at Frost Arena on the South Dakota State University campus.
The Kernels (22-1) shot 71 percent in the first quarter and held a 27-8 lead after the first eight minutes.
After the dominance, No. 1-ranked Mitchell, the top seed in Class AA, is two wins away from a state title.
“Everything they do is quick and hard to guard,” Blomme said, “and when they’re ready to take their shot, they’re under control. It’s very impressive to watch.”
Mitchell plays Sioux Falls Roosevelt (17-7) at 7 p.m. today in a semifinal game at Frost Arena. A win would get the Kernels to their first state title game since 2003, which was also the last time they were state champions.
If the Kernels come out clicking against Sioux Falls Roosevelt like they did against Central, they’ll likely be moving on.
“Best first quarter of the year,” Mitchell coach Wes Morgan said. “I was really concerned with how we were going to come out, but once we started playing some defense, I relaxed and just let them play.”
The Cobblers got their first field goal about six minutes after tip-off, but by that time Mitchell led 17-5. Mitchell’s Macy Miller opened the game by knocking down a jumper from the baseline, a spot the Kernels scored from often in the first half.
“We were pushing the ball and making outside shots,” said Miller, who had six of her game-high 22 points in the first quarter. “That was boosting our confidence.”
Central had seven turnovers in the first eight minutes and 19 by game’s end. Kerri Young nearly hit double digits in the first quarter, scoring nine of her 15 points out of the gate.
“When the ball is in her hands, they score a high percentage of the time,” Blomme said. “She’s a dynamite player.”
Young and Kristin Sabers each hit a 3-pointer in the first quarter, but the Kernels never hit another in the game. That wasn’t a problem, though.
Mitchell’s lead grew to 23 points midway through the second quarter, and the Kernels were on top 41-17 at halftime.
The last time these teams met up, Central led by eight at halftime but lost to Mitchell 55-54 in overtime. It was Mitchell’s third game of the year, and Thursday’s rout over Central showed how much the team has grown since then.
Megan Farnham and Sabers each had four steals in the game, and Dana Misiaszek had a team-high nine rebounds. Those three — who started alongside Miller and Young — were key in Mitchell’s third quarter, keeping Central to only four points. Sabers finished with 11 points and Farnham had 10 points and eight rebounds.
Mitchell was outscored 21-12 in the fourth quarter, but that was because the majority of the Kernels’ starters were sitting next to Morgan on the bench, resting for today’s semifinal game.
“What a great way to start the tournament,” Morgan said. “I think this gives us some confidence going forward … We’ll come out (today) confident, but not necessarily overconfident.”
Central (11-13) was led by Grace Weeks’ 14 points. The Cobblers shot 31 percent from the field and were outrebounded 37-26. Mitchell finished the game 49 percent from the field and had 12 turnovers.