Kernels beat Washington, headed back to title gameRAPID CITY — A big defensive effort secured the Mitchell High School girls’ basketball team a spot in the Class AA state championship game, beating second-seeded Sioux Falls Washington 46-37 Friday night in Rapid City.
By: Brooke Cersosimo, The Daily Republic
RAPID CITY — A big defensive effort secured the Mitchell High School girls’ basketball team a spot in the Class AA state championship game, beating second-seeded Sioux Falls Washington 46-37 Friday night in Rapid City.
With the Warriors trailing 41-37 with just more than two minutes to play, Mitchell pressured Washington’s offense and forced two late turnovers.
“Those two turnovers at the end were huge and if they get a good look at the basket, it’s a different game,” said Mitchell coach Wes Morgan, whose team gets a chance to defend its title at 9 p.m. Central time today against fifth-seeded Sioux Falls Lincoln. “Things went our way and it worked for us. … I thought our defense was solid and made them work for everything they got.”
The Kernels only allowed one Warrior player to reach double-digit scoring figures as Emma Hanson finished with a team-high 10 points.
“Kerri Young may not have scored baskets, but she did a heck of a job on Hanson, not giving her a good look. It was a tough assignment,” Morgan said.
Washington coach Nate Malchow said Mitchell’s defense created adversity, but felt his team could’ve pulled through.
“I thought they played well defensively, but at the same time, though, I thought we didn’t capitalize on opportunities,” he said. “I thought defensively we did very good, holding a very good Mitchell team to 46 points. But every time we inched close, Macy Miller was there to make a play and she’s a great player.”
Macy Miller led all players with 21 points and senior Kristin Sabers finished with 15 points. Kerri Young grabbed a game-high nine rebounds in the win.
“I thought they did a great job at finishing at the basket, and Macy Miller had a heck of a night,” said Morgan, whose team won the rebounding battle 29-23.
In the opening quarter, it was the Kernels who got on the board first with a layup from senior Courtney Moore. Washington’s Emma Hanson got things rolling for the Warriors with a 3-pointer to take the early 3-2 lead.
The Kernels regained the lead with a jumper by Young, followed by a basket by Sabers. Sabers hit a big three with 55 seconds left in the opening quarter and Mitchell went on to lead 9-7 heading into the second.
Miller took control to start the second with back-to-back baskets. The Kernels, who shot 41 percent in the first half, outscored the Warriors, who shot 26 percent in the first half, 11-8 in the quarter to lead 20-15 going into the locker room.
The Kernels maintained the edge in the third quarter as they stretched their lead to 33-27. Sabers played a large part by scoring seven of Mitchell’s 13 third-quarter points.
Washington made a push in the fourth, putting together an 8-2 run that was started in the third quarter, to come within three with five minutes to play. The Kernels continued to pressure the Warriors and went on an 11-5 run to end the game.
The Kernels were 19-of-40 for 48 percent from the field and 5-of-8 for 63 percent from the foul line. Washington was 11-of-38 for 29 percent from the field and made 11 of 17 free throws. Mitchell committed 14 turnovers to Washington’s 11.
Although the Kernels go into today’s championship game as the higher seed, Morgan said Lincoln isn’t a team to overlook.
“They caused just as many problems as Aberdeen,” Morgan said. “But either way, we’ve got to play solid and good defense.”
The Patriots have never won a state girls’ title and the Kernels beat Lincoln 60-46 Feb. 15 at the Corn Palace in Mitchell.
Washington faces top-seeded Aberdeen Central for third place at 7 p.m. Central time today.
MITCHELL 46, SF WASHINGTON 37
MITCHELL (22-3): Farnham 1-3 0-0 2, Michels 0-1 0-0 0, Miller 9-15 2-4 21, Moore 1-2 0-0 2, Young 2-10 2-2 6, Sabers 6-9 1-2 15. Totals: 19-40 5-8 46.
SF WASHINGTON (21-3): Veldkamp 3-8 2-5 8, Nieman 2-8 2-2 8, Knecht 0-2 2-2 2, Hanson 4-10 0-1 10, Benson 2-5 3-5 7, Koel 0-3 0-0 0, Mayer 0-2 2-2 2. Totals: 11-38 11-17 37.
Mitchell 9 20 33 46
SF Washington 7 15 27 37
3-pointers: Mitchell 3-10 (Farnham 0-1, Michels 0-1, Miller 1-1, Young 0-3, Sabers 2-4), SFW 4-13 (Veldkamp 0-1, Nieman 2-4, Knecht 0-2, Hanson 2-5, Koel 0-1). Rebounds: Mitchell 29 (Young 9), SFW 23 (Hanson 8). Assists: Mitchell 10 (Young 5), SFW 5 (Hanson 2). Total fouls: Mitchell 15, SFW 12. Fouled out: None.