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Offensive struggles doom Kernels against Lynx

Mitchell's Jordyn Cranny, left, drives to the basket as Brandon Valley's Felicity Klinkhammer, front right, and Hailey Pieper, back right, try to defend her during a Class AA Round of 16 girls basketball game on Friday in Brandon. (Eric Mayer / Republic)

BRANDON—The Mitchell High School girls basketball team needed its offense to produce, if it was going to pull an upset and go to the state tournament.

It wasn't until the second half that the Kernels' offense arrived but by then, it was too late and the Kernels never could dig out of an 18-point halftime hole in a 51-40 loss at fifth-seeded Brandon Valley Friday.

Mitchell didn't convert a field goal in the first quarter and scored only 11 points in the first half. To make matters worse, junior standout Mackenzie Miller left the game early in the second quarter with a knee injury and didn't return.

"It comes down to scoring. We have to put the ball in the basket," MHS head coach Wes Morgan said. "We dug ourselves into a 20-point hole. That's hard to get out of."

Trailing 13-5 after the first quarter, the Kernels saw the Lynx open the second quarter on a 6-0 run to make the score 19-5. Hailey Pieper's field goal and free throw put the Lynx up 29-11 at halftime. The strong start proved to be enough, even though Mitchell outscored Brandon Valley 29-22 in the second half.

"It was really important to build that lead, but then the girls let Mitchell be the aggressor in the second half," Brandon Valley head coach Mark Stadem said. "There was some good and some bad."

A Mandy Schmidt 3-pointer cut the Lynx lead down to 11 points at 36-25 late in the third quarter. But the Kernels failed to cut Brandon Valley's lead to less than 10 points until the final 1 minute and 30 seconds of the contest. The Lynx went 13-of-25 from the free-throw line to help aid Mitchell's comeback, but the Kernels' big scoring run happened.

"Somehow, we have to figure out a way to score and I don't have the answer," Morgan said.

Tess Limberg poured in a game-high 18 points for the Kernels, going 10-of-13 on free throws. Jordyn Cranny, and Payton Morgan each added six points for Mitchell, which went 11-of-38 from the field and shot 28 percent.

For the Lynx, Danica Kocer scored 16 points, while Ashley Wells added nine points and five rebounds. Brandon Valley hit six 3-pointers compared to Mitchell's one.

Mitchell's season ends at 7-14, but the Kernels will only lose one senior—Shianne Hiemstra. Morgan said the team knows what it needs to focus on during the offseason.

"We got a lot of good things going. When you can't score consistently, you can play really good defense but it just makes it hard on you," Morgan said. "That was our focus last year and it's gotta be our focus this summer."

Brandon Valley 51, Mitchell 40

Mitchell (7-14): Chelsea Brewster 1-6 3-7 5, Mackenzie Miller 0-1 0-0 0, Tess Limberg 4-10 10-13 18, Jordyn Cranny 1-7 4-4 6, Tayler Factor 0-4 0-1 0, Mandy Schmidt 1-1 0-0 3, Payton Morgan 3-6 0-0 6, Shianne Hiemstra 0-0 0-0 0, Avia Haley 0-1 0-0 0, Carly Haring 1-2 0-0 2, Tori Misiaszek 0-0 0-0 0, Totals 11-38 17-25 40

Brandon Valley (14-7): Danica Kocer 7-15 1-3 16, Felicity Klinkhammer 2-5 0-0 6, Trinity Law 2-7 0-0 5, Lexi Ellingson 2-4 0-0 5, Lexi Ellingson 2-4 3-5 7, Ashley Wells 2-4 3-7 9, Sam Taylor 0-1 3-6 3, Mara Schaap 0-1 0-0 0, Lauren Wells 0-2 0-1 0, Hannah Behrens 0-0 0-0 0, Hailey Pieper 1-2 3-3 5, Totals 16-41 13-25 51

MHS 5 11 25 40

BV 13 29 38 51

3-point goals: MHS 1-10 (Schmidt 1), BV 6-16 (Wells 2, Klinkhammer 2, Kocer 1, Law 1); Rebounds: MHS 24 (Limberg 5), BV 29 (Law 6); Assists: MHS 2 (Cranny 1), BV 3 (Law 1); Steals: MHS 12 (Factor 5), BV 7 (Law 2); Blocks: MHS 4 (Haring 1), BV 2 (Law 1); Fouls: MHS 20, BV 22; Fouled out: none; Turnovers: MHS 13, BV 17.

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