Yankton defense dooms MHS

YANKTON -- Having not played a home game in nearly a month, the Yankton Bucks took full advantage of hosting the Mitchell Kernels with a 63-49 victory in their Eastern South Dakota Conference matchup at the Summit Center on Thursday night.

Kernels fall to Yankton
James Cimburek/Press & Dakotan Mitchell point guard Sam Fosness puts up a shot over Yankton's Dylan Slate in a game Thursday night in Yankton. The Bucks won.

YANKTON -- Having not played a home game in nearly a month, the Yankton Bucks took full advantage of hosting the Mitchell Kernels with a 63-49 victory in their Eastern South Dakota Conference matchup at the Summit Center on Thursday night.

The Bucks enjoyed stellar defensive play that led to a 25-6 run that spanned from before halftime to the beginning of the fourth quarter. Bucks' center Jordan Mueller led all players with 21 points, and he also pulled down five offensive rebounds.

The game started off at a slow pace until the Bucks started a 13-2 run that gave them a 19-9 lead with 6:00 left in the second quarter.

Mueller scored eight of the 13 points thanks to two different 3-point plays and a layup assisted by guard Jerrod Daisy. Mueller controlled the paint on the offensive side throughout the game.

As the Kernels cut the lead to 27-20 with six seconds left in the half, Yankton point guard Dylan Slate hit an improbable buzzer-beating three-pointer to give the Bucks a 10-point lead and a momentum boost going into the second half.


Bucks coach Randy Gross encouraged his players to use the momentum to cushion their lead in the second half.

"At the half I told our guys that we needed to hit a few early shots to put the game out of reach," Gross said.

The Bucks did that and more as they went on a 14-2 run to begin the third quarter.

Mueller scored five of the Bucks' first seven points of the half and had seven points in the run. Guard Ryan Berry scored four of his 15 points in the run.

The 14-2 run was part of a 20-6 run that spanned throughout the entirety of the third quarter and gave the Bucks a 50-26 lead. Forward Travis Neukirch had six of his 10 points during the run.

Gross gave credit to his defense for allowing the run to stretch as long as it did.

"Our defense was outstanding in the third quarter," Gross said. "They hustled and never allowed Mitchell to have easy buckets."

The run put a damper on the Kernels' hope to chip into the Buck lead. Mitchell coach Gary Munsen said his team came out flat in the third quarter.


"We weren't ready to play in the third and they were," he said. "Consequently, Yankton established a big lead."

The Kernels came out in the fourth quarter battling to get back in the game.

After cutting the lead to 55-35, the Kernels went on a 12-5 run that made the score 57-43 with 4:23 left in the game.

Kernel forward Jake Schmidt scored all 10 of his points in the first four minutes of the fourth quarter.

The Kernels cut the lead to 11 points at 61-49 as part of a 6-2 run, but with 1:53 remaining in the half, their comeback attempt came up short.

Coach Munsen expressed his disappointment for his players not competing for the whole game.

"We have to play for all 32 minutes," Munsen said. "We played better in the fourth quarter, but the difference was that we did not hustle as hard as Yankton did tonight."

Mitchell guard Sam Fosness had 17 points. Brett Young added 11 points.


On the opposite side, Gross praised his team, specifically Slate, for the absence of turnovers in the game. The Bucks turned the ball over only nine times in the game--Slate had only one.

Rebounding also proved a key aspect in the game. The Bucks secured 28 rebounds (12 off., 16 def.) compared to the Kernels, who had only 20.

The Bucks (2-3) host Watertown tonight at the Summit Center. The Kernels (3-4) host Pierre Friday, Jan. 16, in their next contest.

In junior varsity action Yankton ousted the Kernels 63-51. The Bucks had a 42-22 lead at the half and never allowed Mitchell back in the game.

The Bucks had four players with double-digit scoring numbers. Jake Frick led all scorers with 19 points. Robert Walsh had 16 points and five rebounds. Derek Nelson posted 12 points and Nate Lien added ten points.

Jamie Huber led Mitchell with 16 points.

In the sophomore game, the Bucks defeated Mitchell 58-42, outscoring the Kernels 35-14 in the first half.

Brady Schaeffer (11) and Cole Drotzmann (10) both scored in double figures. Drotzmann added nine rebounds. The Sophomore Bucks shot 52 percent (24-for-46) from the field.


Mitchell's Matt Henriksen scored ten points and secured four rebounds.

In the freshman A game, the Bucks won 44-36. Jackson Seitzinger led the Bucks with ten points and five rebounds. Jackson Pasco added eight points. Mitchell's Jade Miller had 13 points and Martin had ten points.

In the freshman B game, the Bucks won 53-26. Binder led all scorers with 16 points.

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