For the second day in a row, the Mitchell High School boys basketball team tried to pull off a big second-half rally.
Pierre didn't let that happen, as the Governors held on at the Corn Palace and knocked off the Kernels 56-53 in the regular-season finale for both teams Saturday afternoon.
"Really, it was a carbon copy of our game (on Friday night), except we didn't win the game," Neuendorf said. "We really dug ourselves a hole and that really made things tougher on us than we wanted."
Pierre led by as many as 17 points early in the second half, before Mitchell started marching back. In the end, Mitchell got the lead down to one point on two occasions, including a 3-pointer from Derek Factor to cut the Pierre edge to 54-53. On the next possession, the Governors' hit a pair of free throws to bring the Pierre lead back to three points.
Mitchell used a timeout and lined up a play, getting two 3-point looks to potentially tie the game, but the Governors' defense stood tall and the final horn blared.
"We knew the Kernels were going to make their run, because they've done that all year," Pierre coach Terry Becker said. "Our guys did a good job of hitting some free throws and making sure we closed out the game."
Mitchell got another big performance from its freshman standout Caden Hinker, who scored 24 points and tallied 11 rebounds. Factor had 12 points and six rebounds. Carter Jacobsen scored eight points for Mitchell, which was 16-for-35 shooting in the game, 6-for-15 on 3-pointers, and 15-for-23 at the free-throw stripe.
Pierre led 33-20 at halftime and Grey Zabel was a big reason why. He had 15 points in the first half, and finished with 21 points and 12 rebounds in the win, including seven offensive boards. Stout scored 10 points and Grant Judson scored nine for the Governors, who shot 13-for-26 in the first half but were held to 7-for-23 shooting in the second half.
Neuendorf said a stronger first half would have give Mitchell a better chance at a win.
"We lost that game in the first 16 minutes," Neuendorf said. "If we had been down by eight points, we would have been able to win the game going away, but we put ourselves in that position."
The win was a welcome arrival for the Govs (5-15), who had lost 10 games in a row before Saturday.
"It's a good feeling for us," Becker said. "You can play well and lose but you only get that good feeling from getting a win. It's a little bit of a positive for us as we get ready for the Round of 16 game next week."
Both teams are in line to be in the Class AA SoDak 16 state-qualifying round, which will be played March 1 at the high seeds. The matchups won't be finalized until Tuesday but Mitchell is currently slated as the No. 16 seed, which would mean a trip to No. 1 Sioux Falls Lincoln. The winner goes to the state tournament. Pierre, seeded 14th, is currently in line to play No. 3 Sioux Falls O'Gorman.
Pierre 56, Mitchell 53
Pierre (5-14): Chase Sattgast 0-1 0-0 0 Paul Adam 2-9 0-0 4 Matthew Lusk 0-0 0-0 0 Garrett Stout 3-9 3-3 10 Bennett Dean 0-3 0-0 0 Andrew Coverdale 1-3 5-6 8 Grant Judson 3-6 0-0 9 Zach Letellier 1-1 0-0 2 Grey Zabel 9-16 2-7 21 James Mikkonen 1-1 0-0 2 Totals 20-49 10-16 56
Mitchell (2-18): Kiel Nelson 2-4 0-0 5 Gavyn Degen 0-0 0-0 0 Hunter Stahle 0-0 0-0 0 Derek Factor 3-4 4-4 12 Kaden Soukup 1-6 1-3 4 Caden Hinker 7-12 8-11 24 Ben Helleloid 0-1 0-1 0 Carter Jacobsen 3-8 2-4 8 Ryley Johansen 0-0 0-0 0 Totals 16-35 15-23 53
P 17 33 44 56
M 12 20 34 53
3-pointers: P 6-18 (Judson 3, Stout, Cloverdale, Zabel), M 6-15 (Factor 2, Hinker 2, Nelson, Soukup). Rebounds-offensive: P 28-12 (Zabel 12), M 27-7 (Hinker 11). Total fouls: P 21, M 16. Fouled out: Jacobsen. Technical fouls: none. Assists: P 3 (Lusk, Coverdale, Zabel), M 5 (Factor 2). Steals: P 8 (Coverdale 3), M 8 (Factor 3, Jacobsen 3). Blocks: P 0, M 2 (Factor, Hinker).