Brooke Cersosimo is The Daily Republic's sports editor.
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BROOKINGS -- Quinci Herll finished fourth in the all-around to help lead the Mitchell High School gymnastics team to a second-place finish at the Patty Jorgensen Invitational Saturday in Brookings. Mitchell had a team score of 137.05. Watertown claimed the team title with a 143.15, scoring nearly six points above the rest of the field. Madison took third with a 135.375, Brookings was fourth with a 134 and Huron finished in fifth with a 132.225. Herll finished with a score of 35.1 and teammate Ellie Rew took sixth with a 34.775.
The Mitchell Christian boys' basketball team came out quick and didn't look back as it defeated Free-man Academy 59-43 Saturday at Mitchell Christian School in Mitchell. "After the long layoff, we were concerned about how our team would play," MCHS head coach Dennis Martin said. "But we came out pretty quick and carried through on our game plan, and it turned out the way we wanted." The Golden Eagles built a 31-17 lead at the half as a result of the team's defensive work. "We've worked on a more pressure defense and getting after it early," said Martin, whose team is 2-4 overall.
Jason Christensen thinks his team has come out slow after the holiday break. Nonetheless, the Dakota Wesleyan women's basket-ball team has come away with yet another victory, beating Nebraska Wesleyan 69-53 in a Great Plains Athletic Conference matchup Saturday at the Corn Palace in Mitchell. "We're playing a little tentative and rusty right now, and we're not quite as confident as we were right before Christmas," said Christensen, DWU's head coach.
The Huron All Stars scored two goals against a tired Mitchell boys' varsity hockey team in the third period to secure their 4-2 victory over the Marlins Friday at the Mitchell Activities Center. "We just got tired," Mitchell head coach John Lord said. "We're still playing short-manned, and our guys just quit moving their feet." The Marlins are without sophomore Jacob Rice, who suffered a concussion against Brookings Dec. 22.
MOUNT VERNON/PLANKINTON -- Mount Vernon and Plankinton's football teams have played in nine-man, but with their new co-op, which begins in the fall, the conjoined team is right on the border of moving to 11-man football. Yet, the new co-op is doing everything it can to stay in nine-man. "We're right on the bubble," Mount Vernon Superintendent Patrick Mikkonen said. "We're going out Wednesday to present our appeal and not rely on our enrollment to try and stay in nine-man football." An average daily membership (ADM) is made up of all students in grades nine through 11.
The Kernel gymnastics team is coming off the holiday break with some good news. Sophomore Rebecca Sadler, the team's top all-around athlete last season, will return to competition at the Brookings Invite Saturday. The meet begins at noon at Brookings High School. Sadler was out of the lineups for the first half of the season with a foot injury but returned to practice a week ago. "It's nice getting her back, and it's really added a positive to the team," Mitchell head coach Audra Rew said. Sadler is only competing uneven bars in the meet but has been practicing balance beam, as well.
Watertown's Tanner Heiser had the Corn Palace in awe. The senior guard scored 23 of the Arrows' 29 first-half points, keeping them within three points heading into the locker room against La Lumiere, of La Porte, Ind. But with lights-out shooting by Oklahoma State signee Detrick Mostella and halting Heiser, in the second half, La Lumiere pulled away to defeat Watertown 76-59 Friday night during the Mike Miller Classic at the Corn Palace in Watertown. "(Heiser) had a great night and we knew he had to against these guys," Watertown head coach Brian Norberg said.
Joel Embiid played his first organized basketball game in January. Now, the 6-foot-11 forward will join the Kansas Jayhawks next fall on a full-ride athletic scholarship. How is that possible? Just ask anyone in Mitchell who attended the Mike Miller Classic. Embiid plays for The Rock, a high school in Gainesville, Fla., and led his team with 27 points Thursday night and 15 points Friday night. The senior is ranked 38th as a recruit for the class of 2013 on rivals.com, but worked hard to get to where he is today.
There will be a rematch of the 2011 and 2012 Class AA state boys' basketball championship games tonight. The Mitchell Kernels face the Sioux Falls O'Gorman Knights, who are the reigning three-time state champion, at 4 p.m. today during the Mike Miller Classic at the Corn Palace in Mitchell. For some, the anticipation of the game is high with the teams' rivalry within the past two years. But for head coach Tom Young, it's nothing unusual. "For us this is just another game," said Young, whose team is 2-5.
The Kernels had four players score in double figures, but it wasn't enough to beat Coronado. "Those guys just kept making shots," said Coronado head coach Jeff Kaufman, whose team beat Mitchell 80-63 Thursday in a high school boys' basketball game during the Mike Miller Classic at the Corn Palace in Mitchell. "We were a little more athletic and it played in our favor, but (Mitchell) never stopped shooting and making shots on us." Mitchell was led by senior guard Cole Morgan, who had 16 points including three 3-pointers.