Brooke Cersosimo is The Daily Republic's sports editor.
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A common goal for sports teams is to peak at the end of the season. As the state tournament approaches, Mitchell High School basketball coach Wes Morgan says his team is doing just that. "I think it's really important to play at a high level as we go," he said. "If we continue to improve as we go into the tournament and peak at the right time, we'll make it tough for other teams to beat us." The Kernels' improvements will be tested tonight when second-seeded Mitchell travels to play top-seeded Aberdeen Central for the District 3AA championship at 7 p.m.
HURON -- With youth comes nerves. Mitchell High School boys' basketball coach Tom Young pointed to his team's postseason inexperience after a first-round District 3AA playoff loss to Huron Tuesday. Many of Mitchell's players were playing in their first district game. "The kids were pretty tight," Young said.
HURON -- The last time the Mitchell High School boys' basketball team missed the state tournament was 11 years ago. And with a 63-53 loss against second-seeded Huron Tuesday in the first round of the District 3AA tournament, the third-seeded Kernels are one step closer to ending the 10-year state tournament appearance streak. Mitchell's 2002 team failed to qualify to the state tournament, despite having a winning record at 12-9 on the season.
PARKSTON -- After a record-breaking weekend, the Parkston wrestling team was well received during its homecoming. "This community supports its sports very well and wrestling has a huge backing also," said Parkston coach Jared Digmann, whose team won the Class B state wrestling title and set a state record for all-time scoring with 164 team points.
Wayne Stone remembers his days in a Kernel uniform vividly, but is surprised others do. The 1941 Mitchell High School graduate will be inducted into the South Dakota High School Basketball Hall of Fame during a banquet, along with 15 others, March 23 in Madison. "It's a great honor, especially when your name is associated with great, great ballplayers from all over South Dakota," Stone said. He will be inducted alongside Mitchell native and Miami Heat veteran Mike Miller.
The No. 2-seeded Kernels scored 27 first-quarter points en route to beating No. 3-seeded Pierre 59-40 in the first round of the District 3AA girls' basketball tournament Monday at the Corn Palace in Mitchell. "Earlier in the year we worked on that, and now getting out to a nice start like that gets us going," Mitchell head coach Wes Morgan said. "The kids played well (tonight)." The Kernels travel to play No. 1-seeded Aberdeen Central Thursday in Aberdeen. With a win, Mitchell can secure itself a spot in the Class AA state tournament, which is March 7-9 in Rapid City.
The Mitchell Marlin boys' varsity hockey team was shut out by Brookings 9-0 Friday at the Mitchell Activities Center. The Rangers scored two goals in the opening period, four in the second and three in the final period. Two of the Rangers' goals were on power plays. Three Brookings players scored two goals apiece and two players had playmakers, three assists in one game. Mitchell goalie Tate Sutherland made 34 saves in the game. The Rangers outshot the Marlins 43-16 in the game. The Marlins host Aberdeen at 4 p.m. today in Mitchell.
Doyle Everson has experienced all angles of the wrestling mat. Now as an official, the Mitchell native will be working at the Class A state wrestling tournament this weekend in Watertown. Everson's wrestling resume also includes coaching for nearly 20 years, and he was a very successful competitor on the mat. In the early 1980s, Everson won three Class A wrestling titles for the Kernels, the first to accomplish the feat at Mitchell High School. At a ceremony during a break this weekend, Everson will be among 14 inducted into the South Dakota High School Coaches Association Hall of Fame.
WAGNER -- In a repeat of last year's District 10A girls' basketball championship game, the outcome remained the same. Last year, it was Parkston's Logan Wagner who made a 3-pointer at the end of the game to knock off top-seeded Wagner, undefeated at the time and ranked No. 1 in the state.
The Mitchell Kernels have been nominated as a contender for the best high school mascot in the nation, a search conducted by USA Today. Mitchell was one of five schools chosen from South Dakota in the first round of the contest. The other four mascots include: Sturgis Scoopers, Rapid City Central Cobblers, Sioux Valley Cossacks and Newell Irrigators. "A couple of weeks ago, I got an email from a gentleman at USA Today looking for some tidbits about our mascot," Mitchell Activities Director Geoff Gross said.