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After solid start, Kernel girls searching for winning formula

Five games into the season, there have already been plenty of highs and lows for the Mitchell High School girls basketball team. The Kernels opened their season with back-to-back victories over Huron and Rapid City Central, but have dropped three...

Mitchell's Tori Misiaszek, left, drives to the basket as Brookings' Johanna Miller, right, looks on during an Eastern South Dakota Conference girls basketball game earlier this season at the Corn Palace. (Eric Mayer / Republic)
Mitchell's Tori Misiaszek, left, drives to the basket as Brookings' Johanna Miller, right, looks on during an Eastern South Dakota Conference girls basketball game earlier this season at the Corn Palace. (Eric Mayer / Republic)

Five games into the season, there have already been plenty of highs and lows for the Mitchell High School girls basketball team.

The Kernels opened their season with back-to-back victories over Huron and Rapid City Central, but have dropped three games in a row. After falling to No. 3 Rapid City Stevens, Mitchell held halftime leads against Brookings and Watertown before seeing the Bobcats and Arrows rally back.

MHS head coach Wes Morgan called Rapid City Stevens one of the top two teams in the state, but also added the Kernel offense has struggled.

"The scoring turned off and we've been working on that," Morgan said. "I'm trying to get kids to change how we're thinking about it and how we're reacting to zone defenses. We have to get better at it."

Mitchell is averaging 44 points through its first five games, but in both victories the team reached 50 points or more. Including two games last year, the Kernels have won every game where they reached the 50-point mark the past two seasons. Morgan admitted to the 50-point threshold as a solid benchmark for which his team can aim.

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"If we can hit 50 (points), at least we are in the games," Morgan said. "We have the talent here. They just have to make their baskets and I have to get smarter at how we run our schemes. The big thing is when we have tough moments in games, it's a panic mode. We can't panic, we just have to play."

Leading Mitchell's offense has been Mackenzie Miller, who is averaging 11.6 points per game. Tayler Factor is averaging 7.4 points per game, Carly Haring averages 5.4 points and Tess Limberg and Jordyn Cranny are each averaging 4.6 points.

Morgan said half-court traps and zone defenses have given the Kernels fits, but also noted his team's full-court press hasn't been as effective.

"Teams are coached up on (our press). They know how to react to it," Morgan said. "That's where I come in. I have to do a better job of getting them out of it when it doesn't work and disguising it."

Whether Mitchell continues to press or reverts to half court man-to-man defense, Morgan said the Kernels need to use good defending to spur the offense.

"That's where we had our success against Rapid City Central and Huron," Morgan said. "That's what we have to keep trying to do and get better at."

Mitchell takes on No. 2 Harrisburg on Tuesday in Harrisburg, before hosting Yankton on Thursday at the Corn Palace.

Related Topics: KERNELSGIRLS BASKETBALL
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