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Kernel boys fall to Watertown

Mitchell's Jordon Johnson (4) shoots over Watertown's Colton McClemans (12) during a game on Friday night at the Corn Palace. (Matt Gade / Republic)

One game after taking a leap forward, Mitchell boys basketball coach Todd Neuendorf said the Kernels took a few steps backward on Friday.

The Kernels fell to 0-5 on the season after a 62-41 defeat against Eastern South Dakota Conference foe Watertown at the Corn Palace. Mitchell has now lost 28 games in a row, dating back to the 2016 District 3AA playoffs, when the Kernels beat Huron 57-48.

Mitchell was coming off one of the best performances of the season, a 51-46 overtime loss against Brookings. But the Kernels couldn't carry the momentum against the Arrows.

"I feel bad because you come off Tuesday night feeling good how you played and then (Friday), you feel like you took about three steps back," Neuendorf said.

Mitchell trailed the entire contest and fell behind 28-9 at halftime. The Kernels shot 4-for-18 from the field in the first half.

"I don't know what the first half was," Neuendorf said. "That's not like we've played all year. That's just frustrating."

The Kernels made some shots fall in the second half, as they connected on 12-for-23 from the floor.

"We didn't shoot well in the first half because we took terrible shots," Neuendorf said. "We were trying to play, it looked like 1-on-1 a lot. In the second half, we ran the same stuff we did in the first half. We ran the same stuff and we were getting looks in the second half."

But the Arrows—working with a comfortable lead—answered throughout the night. Mitchell got within 31-15 after Kiel Nelson field goal with under 5 minutes left in the third quarter. The Arrows answered with three straight 3-pointers and it was 40-16 and later stretched the lead to 45-22 after the third quarter.

"Watertown pounded it right down our throat," Neuendorf said. "We couldn't guard them down low and then they hit some deep shots. They shot it really well. Every shot they put up, it went in it looked like and us, not so much."

Watertown's Solomon Bach tossed in a game-high 24 points and was 3-for-3 at the 3-point line. Cade Cummings added 11 points and six assists for the Arrows, who shot 22-for-36 from the field.

Nelson was a bright spot for the Kernels, finishing with 18 points and 4-for-6 at the 3-point line.

"I think Kiel Nelson is starting to find his shot and he's starting to play well," Neuendorf said.

Neuendorf also praised the play of two reserves on Friday.

"The other thing that's a positive is we saw Carter Jacobsen come off the bench and provide some energy," Neuendorf said. "He's just going to get more time. I think Tate Larson—I know he didn't score—but he came off the bench and played pretty solid."

The Kernels play in the Mike Miller Classic on Dec. 29-30 at the Corn Palace and the Sanford Pentagon in Sioux Falls.

"Hopefully we will get some things squared up by then," Neuendorf said.

Subvarsity scores:

Junior varsity: Watertown 58, Mitchell 43

Sophomore: Watertown 59, Mitchell 47

Freshman A: Watertown 49, Mitchell 35

Freshman B: Watertown 40, Mitchell 30

Watertown 62, Mitchell 41

Watertown (3-1): Cade Cummings 5-6 0-0 11, Parker Schmidt 2-3 1-2 5, Colton McClemans 1-3 0-0 2, Parker Johnston 0-3 0-0 0, Brandon Florey 2-3 2-2 8, Max Sonne 1-1 2-2 4, Solomon Bach 8-11 5-5 24, Corbin Chilson 2-5 1-2 5, Blake Holden 1-1 0-0 2. Totals 22-36 11-15 62.

Mitchell (0-5): Kiel Nelson 7-13 0-1 19, Jordon Johnson 0-3 0-0 0, Kaden Soukup 1-2 0-0 3, Derek Factor 1-5 2-2 4, Tate Larson 0-0 0-0 0, Carter Cavanaugh 3-10 0-0 7, Baley Miller 1-2 0-0 3, Carter Jacobsen 1-1 0-0 2, Vincent Michael 2-5 1-2 5. Totals 16-41 5-6 41.

W 17 28 45 62

M 7 9 22 41

3-point field goals: W 6-11 (Cumnings 1, Florey 2, Bach 3); M 6-14 (Nelson 4, Soukup 1, Cavanaugh 1). Rebounds: W 26 (Sonne 7); M 16 (Miller 5). Assists: W 19 (Cummings 6); M 12 (Cavanaugh 4). Blocked shots: W 1 (Bach 1); M 0. Steals: W 4 (Cummings 1, Schmidt 1, McClemans 1, Johnston 1); M 8 (Nelson 2, Michael 2). Turnovers: W 10; M 5. Total fouls: W 7; M 13.