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Defense leads Mitchell girls past Huron

Mitchell forward Haley Hohn (32) goes up for a shot against Huron defender Sami Shoultz during the third quarter of a girls basketball game on Saturday, at Huron Arena, in Huron. (Nick Sabato / Republic)

HURON—The MItchell High School girls basketball team had given up fewer than 50 points just one time all season heading into Saturday's Eastern South Dakota Conference game against Huron.

With an emphasis on defense from Kernel head coach Wes Morgan, the Kernels forced 15 Tiger turnovers thanks to a stifling full-court press and getting into the passing lanes in the half-court.

That defense also turned into offense, as Mitchell took 17 more shots than Huron, resulting in a 67-46 win at Huron Arena.

"We have to start playing differently on defense," Morgan said. "We have to start taking some chances. You're still going to see that high-intensity in the full-court, but we have to work on the half-court and that was part of the game plan."

It took a quarter before Mitchell began to wear down Huron with its press, while also doing the same with its offensive attack. The Kernels employed a strategy to begin their offensive possessions by entering the ball to a player in the high post, and then looking into the low post or kicking it outside to an open shooter.

Mitchell connected on 10 of 22 attempts from beyond the 3-point arc, while also totaling 15 assists on 25 made field goals in the game. Mackenzie Miller was one of the main beneficiaries, posting 12 points, nine rebounds and three assists, while frequently drawing double teams in the second half.

"Inside-out and spacing on the court," Morgan said. "In the first half, we were stacked up too high. (Players in the corner) were 10-12 feet from the baseline. Push those kids down to the baseline, we have spacing and now they have a hard time guarding us."

The Kernels also made it difficult on the Huron defense with a balanced attack, with four players finishing in double figures.

Payton Morgan led the way with a game-high 19 points, including knocking down 5 of 7 shots from 3-point range. Jordyn Cranny added 10 points on 3-for-6 shooting and Tayler Factor pitched in 10 points of her own.

"Four kids in double figures—that's a good job and that's where we need to be," Wes Morgan said. "We play again on Thursday and it could be a different four kids. ... When we get open, we've got to put the ball in the basket."

Havyn Heinz led Huron (1-6) with 17 points.

Mitchell (4-3) hosts Pierre on Thursday at the Corn Palace.

Mitchell 67, Huron 46

Mitchell (4-3): Tess Limberg 2-6 1-2 5, Jordyn Cranny 3-6 1-2 10, Payton Morgan 6-11 5-7 19, Tayler Factor 5-7 0-1 10, Mackenzie Miller 6-11 0-0 12, Mandy Schmidt 11-1 0-0 3, Avia Haley 1-9, 1-2 4, Camryn Krogman 0-3 2-2 2, Haley Hohn 1-2 0-1 2. Totals 25-56 7-12 67.

Huron (1-6): Kylie Overbay 4-6 0-0 9, Tenley Buddenhagen 1-4 5-6 7, Havyn Heinz 3-13 10-10 17, Sami Shoultz 2-6 3-5 7, Brooke Schiltz 1-1 0-0 2, Melissa Berg 0-1 0-0 0, Chelsea Hofer 0-0 0-0 0, Bella Shreeve 1-8 2-2 4. Totals 12-39 13-20 46.

3-point field goals: Mitchell 10-22 (Morgan 5-7, Cranny 3-6, Schmidt 1-1, Haley 1-6), Huron 2-13 (Overbay 1-2, Heinz 1-3, Buddenhagen 0-1, Shoultz 0-2, Shreeve 0-5). Rebounds: Mitchell 32 (Miller 9), Huron 24 (Buddenhagen 8). Assists: Mitchell 15 (Morgan 4, Factor 4), Huron 2 (Buddenhagen 1, Shoultz 1). Turnovers: Mitchell 11, Huron 15. Total fouls: Mitchell 19, Huron 13.

M 11 31 48 67

H 11 22 35 46

Sub-varsity scores: JV: Mitchell 38, Huron 23. Sophomores: Mitchell 45, Huron 32.