After dropping two games last weekend, Mitchell High School boys basketball head coach Todd Neuendorf felt his team took a step back in its development.
On Thursday, the Kernels had a chance to get back on the court, but they hosted a team in Brandon Valley that Neuendorf believed to be a Class AA contender.
Mitchell outscored the Lynx in the second half by four points and broke the 60-point barrier for the first time since January 2016. However, a second quarter in which Brandon Valley outscored the Kernels by 13 proved to be the difference in a 73-62 loss at the Corn Palace.
"Last week when we got down, we just stayed down," Neuendorf said. "This week, we battled back and competed. ... With a young basketball team, you're going to have mistakes and we had those. Good teams compound those and make it look kind of silly."
In the second quarter, Mitchell (0-4) was hampered by turnovers as Brandon Valley (2-2) used a one-man full-court press to harass ball handlers.
That defense resulted not only in turnovers that were converted into easy baskets, but it also made it hard for the Kernels to get into their half-court offensive sets, as the Lynx only gave up 10 points in the quarter.
"You can't simulate that on-ball pressure in practice," Neuendorf said. "I think (Brandon Valley) is a team that is going to contend for the state title and when they come in, they're going to put pressure on you. ... They've got a lot of good pieces."
Mitchell trailed by as many as 18 points in the second half and appeared to be on its way to another blowout loss, but the offense found some life in the fourth quarter.
Freshman Caden Hinker scored 14 of his career-high 27 points-including four of his seven 3-pointers-in the final frame as the Kernels cut the lead to nine on more than one occasion, but Brandon Valley found a way to quell each run.
"We didn't know if he was going to play," Neuendorf said. "He was at home throwing up and he didn't practice with us. I got to text last night saying he was at the rec shooting. He said, 'I'm going to play' and he did play."
Defensively, Mitchell was able to hold its own, as Kaden Soukup held Brandon Valley's talented wing player Evan Talcott to just four points in the second half.
Where the Lynx gained an advantage was in the post. They were able to gain deep post position, which translated into easy layups, as Brandon Valley shot 56.6 percent from the field for the game.
"They ran a lot of that high-flash, where they came from the elbow and went from the top, down and our backside (player) wasn't there to protect it," Neuendorf said. "We're asking a lot out of a freshman (Hinker) to guard those big seniors, but he did a pretty nice job."
Carter Jacobsen had 19 points, six rebounds, three assists and two steals for Mitchell, which plays No. 1 Yankton on Dec. 28 in the Hoop City Classic.
Carter Othoff led Brandon Valley with 16 points and five rebounds, while Talcott finished with 14 points and seven boards.
Brandon Valley 73, Mitchell 62
Brandon Valley (2-2): Carter Othoff 8-13 0-1 16, Jaxon LaBrie 0-0 0-0 0, Nate Keegan 2-3 0-0 5, Ethan Rasmussen 2-3 1-2 6, Caden Johnson 0-1 0-0 0, Cole Siegfried 2-3 5-8 9, Joe Kolbeck 0-2 0-0 0, Evan Talcott 6-10 0-0 14, Alex Tietjen 2-5 2-3 6, Jackson Hilton 4-9 1-2 9, Gavin Terhark 4-5 0-0 8, Aydin Lloyd 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 30-53 9-16 73.
Mitchell (0-4): Kiel Nelson 2-7 1-2 5, Derek Factor 1-4 0-0 2, Kaden Soukup 1-2 1-2 4, Caden Hinker 10-19 0-0 27, Ben Helleloid 0-0 3-4 3, Carter Jacobsen 5-11 9-12 19, Ryley Johansen 0-0 0-0 0, Zane Alm 1-1 0-0 2. Totals 20-44 14-20 62.
3-pointers: BV 4-16 (Talcott 2-6, Keegan 1-1, Rasmussen 1-1, Johnson 0-1, Othoff 0-2, Kolbeck 0-2, Hilton 0-3), MHS 8-18 (Hinker 7-13, Soukup 1-1, Factor 0-1, Jacobsen 0-1, Nelson 0-2). Rebounds: BV 28 (Talcott 7), MHS 25 (Nelson 7). Assists: BV 5 (Tietjen 2), MHS 10 (Helleloid 3, Jacobsen 3). Steals: BV 8 (Hilton 3), MHS 3 (Jacobsen 2). Blocked shots: BV 1 (Talcott 1), MHS 0. Turnovers: BV 10, MHS 17. Total fouls: BV 19, MHS 13.
B 13 36 48 73
M 11 21 36 62
Sub-varsity scores: JV: Brandon Valley 81, Mitchell 49. Sophomores: Brandon Valley 70, Mitchell 61. Freshman A: Brandon Valley 49, Mitchell 45. Freshman B: Brandon Valley 63, Mitchell 43.