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No. 5 Kernels beat No. 4 Governors in season opener

Mitchell’s Taylor Volesky guards the ball in the Kernels season opener Thursday at the Corn Palace in Mitchell. (Nick McCutcheon/Republic)

Mitchell girls’ basketball coach Wes Morgan said before the season he wanted to see what type of team he had early with all the new faces.

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One to be reckoned with is the early answer.

The No. 5 Kernels (1-0) opened the 2013-14 season with a 55-45 win over Eastern South Dakota Conference foe and fourth-ranked Pierre Friday at the Corn Palace in Mitchell.

“This is a big win for the team,” senior guard Emma Schmidt said. “I think people underestimated us being a team that lost six seniors. I think we came out tonight and made a statement.”

With the game still in the balance late in the third quarter, Schmidt, who finished with seven points, hit a pair of 3-pointers for the Kernels to help build a 42-28 lead over the Governors heading into the final quarter.

“That got us going again,” Morgan said of Schmidt’s big shots. “There were times in that second half when we had players standing around waiting for someone else to do something. You have to be tough enough to stand in there and knock a shot down.”

All scoring for the Kernels came from their starting five, led by senior guard Macy Miller. The South Dakota State University commit finished with a game-high 26 points on 9-of-14 shooting, while hitting all eight of her free-throw attempts.

“Macy is a great player and the thing that makes her so great is she makes everyone around her better,” Pierre coach Lisa Bahe said.

Miller added 12 rebounds for a double-double, six assists and four steals.

Junior Taylor Volesky scored 12 points on 6-of-13 shooting for the Kernels, while pulling down seven rebounds, blocking three shots and coming up with four steals.

“She is really starting to come into her own and is going to be an exciting player for down the road,” Morgan said about Volesky. “She is long and fast, and once I get her to make that explosive play she is going to move to the next level.”

Senior center Shelly Iburg scored seven points on 3-of-8 shooting and grabbed 10 boards for Mitchell, while senior guard Torrie Michels scored three points and came up with two steals in the win.

Foul trouble hampered Pierre, as SDSU commit Sydney Palmer played just 19 minutes in the game. Palmer finished with 13 points on 3-of-11 shooting.

“It hurt us because she does so much for us,” Bahe said of Palmer’s limited action. “Not having her overall calmness on the court was tough for us.”

The Governors (0-1) had a tough night shooting in the season opener, going just 14-of-54 from the field.

“I feel like we didn’t execute like we needed to, Bahe said. “We had some players that I know can play a lot harder than they did.”

Kaitlyn Severyn, another SDSU commit, was held to 13 points on 5-of-13 shooting. She grabbed 13 rebounds for the double-double and had two steals for Pierre. McKenna Halverson scored eight points, while Katie Berg added three points, three rebounds and four steals for Pierre.

The Kernels outrebounded the Governors 41-36. Mitchell made just 2 of 11 3-point attempts, while Pierre hit 5 of its 12 attempts from deep. The teams each finished with 13 turnovers.

The Kernels hit the road for the first time in a matchup with ESD newcomer Harrisburg at 7 p.m. Tuesday in Harrisburg. Pierre returns home to play Brandon Valley at 5 p.m. Dec. 21 in Pierre.

Mitchell 55

Pierre 45

Mitchell (1-0, 1-0 ESD)

Taylor Volesky 6-13 0-2 12; Shelly Iburg 3-8 1-4 7; Torrie Michels 1-6 1-2 3; Macy Miller 9-14 8-8 26; Emma Schmidt 2-6 1-2 7; Cassidy Musick 0-4 0-0 0; Julie Knight 0-0 0-0 0; Rachel Bucholz 0-0 0-0 0; Ally Goldammer 0-1 0-0 0; Kaley Nolz 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 21-52 11-18 55.

Pierre (0-1, 0-1 ESD)

Kaitlyn Severyn 5-13 1-2 13; McKenna Halverson 2-6 2-2 8; Katie Berg 1-4 0-0 2; Kelsey Schmidtz 1-7 1-2 3; Sydney Palmer 3-11 6-7 13; Hallie Jerome 0-2 1-2 1; Nikky Farnsworth 1-7 1-2 3; Macy Halverson 0-0 0-0 0; Jory Muellen 1-4 0-0 2. Totals 14-54 12-17 45.

M 14 27 42 55

P 12 20 28 45

3-point goals: M 2-11 (Schmidt 2), P 5-12 (Severyn 2, M. Halverson 2, Palmer 1); Rebounds: M 41 (Miller 12, Iburg 10, Volesky 7), P 36 (Severyn 13); Assists: M 7 (Miller 6), P 5; Steals: M 10 (Volesky 4, Miller 4), P 6 (Schmidtz 4); Turnovers: M 13, P 13; Fouls: M 14, P 15; Technical fouls: None.

Subvarsity scores

JV: Pierre won 44-31. Leading scorer: Erin Farnham, 8 points.

Sophomores: Pierre won 36-20. Leading scorer: Brenna Morgan, 6 points.

Freshman: Pierre won 27-21. Leading scorer: Kendra Brewster, 6 points.