Kernels ready to take the floorDespite all of the new pieces of the Mitchell High School boys’ basketball team, being unknown to its opponents may be its biggest weapon.
By: Brooke Cersosimo, The Daily Republic
Despite all of the new pieces of the Mitchell High School boys’ basketball team, being unknown to its opponents may be its biggest weapon.
Mitchell begins the season by hosting Eastern South Dakota Conference rival Brandon Valley at 7:30 p.m. in the Corn Palace in Mitchell.
The game against the Lynx is the first of three games in a five-day span for the Kernels.
“I think we have an advantage,” Mitchell assistant coach Craig Mock said to the team in Thursday’s practice at the Corn Palace. “We’ve seen them, but with a whole new team, they aren’t going to know us very well.”
Senior guard Seth Cavanaugh said the expectations still rank high.
“Everybody’s still got Mitchell marked from tradition, so we’re going to have to go out and compete like any other year,” he said.
The Kernels, who lost five senior starters to last year’s Class AA state runner-up team, start with a clean slate when it comes to the starting lineup. Starters for tonight’s game are Cavanaugh, senior guard Cole Morgan, senior guard Zach Moen, senior forward Jared Schmidt and sophomore guard Beau Brown.
“This is the style that works best for us,” said Mitchell head coach Tom Young, referring to putting four guards on the floor from the game’s opening tip. “This starting lineup isn’t set in stone for the season. As matchups change, lineups will as well, but I do know for sure that eight kids will see playing time.”
Coming off the bench for the Kernels are senior guard Evan Mastel, senior forward Josh Schmidt and senior center Kass Ischen.
In the week leading up to the Kernels’ home opener, Young said the entire team has been ready to see where it stands.
“I think we’ve had a good week in practice, so I’m just ready to get it going and see where we’re at,” said Young, who is in his first year with the Kernels after longtime coach Gary Munsen retired following the state tournament last March. “It’s a long season, and it’s not going to be determined by (the first game).”
Although the team is undergoing some changes, one major part of the season remains the same. Mitchell will still play in the Corn Palace.
“It’s always nice to open up at home,” Cavanaugh said. “We love playing in front of our crowd.”
Young said he thinks the atmosphere should relax his inexperienced team.
“With all of the emotions that come with playing your first game, I think the kids are going to feel a little more comfortable in front of their home crowd,” he said.
Young said regardless of what happens on the court tonight, the team — which turns around to play Pierre on the road Saturday night — is bound to keep progressing.
“We’re going to get exposed for some of the things we need to work on,” he said. “There will be mistakes and if we learn from them, we’re just going to get better.”