Home-court advantage could come down to coin toss for Kernel girlsFor the past two seasons, the Mitchell girls’ basketball team has punched its ticket to the state tournament with a victory over Aberdeen in the District 3AA championship on the Corn Palace floor.
By: Luke Hagen, The Daily Republic
For the past two seasons, the Mitchell girls’ basketball team has punched its ticket to the state tournament with a victory over Aberdeen in the District 3AA championship on the Corn Palace floor.
The Kernels held home-court advantage throughout the postseason each year and took advantage of playing where they’re most comfortable.
This season, the Kernels may need to win a coin flip to earn home-court advantage over Aberdeen.
Heading into Tuesday, Mitchell (15-2) was sitting in second place in the District 3AA standings, behind Aberdeen and ahead of Pierre and Huron.
Aberdeen defeated Sioux Falls Roosevelt 62-54 in a nonconference game Tuesday night, forcing the Kernels to continue to keep a close eye on the Eagles (16-1) for the remainder of the regular season. Aberdeen hosts Brandon Valley (4-14) Friday and travels to Pierre (9-8) Tuesday.
If Mitchell wins its final three games in the regular season and Aberdeen loses once, both teams will have 17 wins in 19 games against Class AA opponents, which would force a tiebreaker to determine home-court advantage.
According to the South Dakota High School Activities Association basketball handbook, the tie-breaking procedure would consider head-to-head competition, victories against common opponents and the best overall regular-season win-loss record. Point differential is not a factor.
When looking down the criteria, neither team would hold an advantage. Mitchell and Aberdeen split their regular-season matchups, neither team has defeated an opponent the other has lost to and both teams — if they finish tied — will hold 17-2 records in games that are considered.
By the end of the season, Mitchell will have played one more game than Aberdeen, but the Kernels’ win over Spearfish, a Class A school, is not counted.
“Because everything is a wash, it could come down to a coin flip,” said Gross, who’s also the District 3AA chairman in girls’ basketball. “We’re just hoping for a 50-50 chance to host right now.”
Gross said the coin flip wouldn’t come until after the regular season, if it’s necessary.
Mitchell coach Wes Morgan was aware of the scenario and said having home-court advantage in the postseason will be important. In Mitchell vs. Aberdeen head-to-head matchups this season, both teams have won on their home court.
“If it doesn’t happen, it doesn’t happen,” Morgan said, referring to his team playing all of its postseason games at the Corn Palace. “We’ll be ready to go if we have to make the trip north.”
Besides falling to Aberdeen, Mitchell’s only other loss this year was to Sioux Falls Washington the night before losing to the Eagles. The Kernels host Sioux Falls Lincoln (11-5) Friday and Huron (4-14) Saturday before traveling to Yankton (4-12) Tuesday in the regular-season finale.
If the Kernels, who are on a 10-game win streak, win their final three games and Aberdeen loses twice, Mitchell will have home-court advantage in the postseason.