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Kernels share ESD title, will play Pierre in District 3AA tourney

For the second straight year, the Mitchell High School girls' basketball team can be called the conference champion.

The Kernels finished the regular season Tuesday night with a deciding victory over Yankton to earn a piece of the Eastern South Dakota Conference title. Mitchell finished its season with a 13-1 league record to finish in a tie with Aberdeen Central, making both teams co-champions.

"We're very proud of it," Mitchell coach Wes Morgan said. "It doesn't happen very often, whether you're co-champions or sole champions. You have to work your tail off to get it."

Mitchell split its regular-season games with Aberdeen this year. The Kernels lost to the Eagles 63-55 on Jan. 5, but won the most recent matchup 57-35 Feb. 8 at the Corn Palace.

The Kernels, who claimed the ESD championship outright last year with an undefeated league record, are heading into the postseason on a 13-game win streak.

In wrapping up the regular season, the Kernels also learned of their first-round district opponent. Second-seeded Mitchell hosts third-seeded Pierre at 7 p.m. Monday at the Corn Palace in Mitchell for a District 3AA matchup.

Aberdeen Central earned the top seed in the district tournament and will host Huron in a first-round game. If Mitchell and Aberdeen each win their first-round games, the Kernels will travel to Aberdeen for the district championship and a spot in the state tournament.

For the past two years, Mitchell hosted Aberdeen for the district championship with the Kernels coming out on top for both times.

"I'm not anticipating anything," Morgan said, referring to another matchup against the Eagles. "We're focusing on this game. We're not going to get ahead of ourselves."

Mitchell defeated Pierre twice this season by scores of 65-27 and 61-32.