Not even Sioux Falls Washington's clear size advantage was enough to solve Mitchell's press on Tuesday at the Corn Palace.
The Kernel girls caused the Warriors fits in the backcourt from the start-forcing a turnover on Washington's first possession. Mitchell never trailed, winning 63-57 on senior night for its seventh win in past eight games.
"We're playing with a lot of confidence," Mitchell coach Wes Morgan said. "We're getting stops when we need them and we're getting baskets when we need them."
Mitchell's (12-7) full-court press caused 24 turnovers, thanks to Tayler Factor poking the ball out from behind and poor Warrior passes. A stretch of four straight Washington (11-7) turnovers in the second quarter also sparked a 7-0 Kernel run as Mitchell extended its lead to 26-16.
Factor and Tess Limberg both had five steals, which led to open fastbreak layups.
For Limberg, it also meant getting to the free-throw line and sinking 11 of 13 tries en route to a team-high 20 points. She had 10 of those points in the opening quarter, helping the Kernels take a 19-15 lead.
"Tess gets out and goes-she's fast and beats kids to the other end," Morgan said. "We've been waiting for the next surge of Tess, and she's starting to come, starting to get those layups."
In the second half, Mitchell's other five seniors got going, too, finishing with all 63 of its points. Mackenzie Miller scored 16 points as she made six straight free throws in the final 35 seconds to ice the game.
However, Miller had her hands full on the defensive end, picking up a third foul midway through the second quarter. She was tasked with trying to stop 6-foot-1 bigs Samiya Jami and Lily Bartling, as well as 6-foot-5 Sydni Schetnan.
"I just told the kids, 'I get it, you're giving up 11-12 inches. You just have to play hard,' " Morgan said.
Schetnan scored a game-high 21 points off the bench as she used her size to control the offensive glass and get easy looks inside. She also blocked two shots and grabbed four rebounds, helping Washington own a 30-18 advantage on the glass.
"(Her size) is something that's hard to prepare for," Morgan said. "They do a good job just throwing her the ball, and she does a good job finishing at the hoop."
Washington's zone caused Mitchell problems at times, such as the second quarter which kept the game a manageable 33-26 deficit for the Warriors. And Mitchell also missed multiple wide open layups, though the Kernels made up for it by hitting from beyond the arc.
Mitchell didn't rely on the 3-ball, but went 5-for-12 from deep and hit multiple long 2s. Mandy Schmidt's 3-pointer in the fourth stopped Washington's 7-0 run and extended Mitchell's lead to 55-49 with 1:52 to play.
"I think that's who we are," Morgan said, referencing Mitchell's mid-range success and 44.4 percent shooting. "I don't think we're a 3-point shooting team. I think we can hit a couple of 3s, but if we rely on the 3 to win the game, it's going to be tough on us."
Mitchell concludes the regular season at Aberdeen Central on Friday.
Mitchell 63, Sioux Falls Washington 57
Sioux Falls Washington (11-7): Sydni Schetnan 9-12 3-5 21, Lily Bartling 4-7 2-4 10, Samiya Jami 3-3 3-7 9, Peyton Rymerson 3-9 2-2 8, Brielle Biteler 2-5 0-0 5, Eden Hullinger 2-2 0-0 4, Brynn Heinert 0-2 0-0 0, Libby Nachtigal 0-1 0-0 0, Jacee Johannsen 0-0 0-0 0. Team totals: 23-41 10-18 57.
Mitchell (12-7): Tess Limberg 4-12 11-13 20, Mackenzie Miller 5-11 6-6 16, Payton Morgan 4-6 0-0 9, Jordyn Cranny 2-6 1-2 7, Tayler Factor 3-6 0-0 6, Mandy Schmidt 2-3 0-0 5, Avia Haley 0-1 0-0 0, Camryn Krogman 0-0 0-0 0, Haley Hohn 0-0 0-0 0. Team totals: 20-45 18-21 63.
SFW 15 26 40 57
M 19 33 48 63
3-pointers: SFW 1-5 (Biteler 1-4); M 5-12 (Cranny 2-6, Schmidt 1-2, Limberg 1-2, Morgan 1-1). Rebounds: SFW 30 (Rymerson 6); M 18 (Hohn 4). Assists: SFW 10 (Rymerson 4); M 14 (Morgan 4, Factor 4). Blocked shots: SFW 3 (Schetnan 2); M 0. Steals: SFW 6 (Jami 2); M 17 (Limberg 5, Factor 5). Turnovers: SFW 24; M 9. Total fouls: SFW 17; M 15.
Sub-varsity scores: JV: Sioux Falls Washington 63, Mitchell 36.