On an off-shooting night, the Mitchell High School girls basketball team had to buckle down on defense without one of its best defensive players.
Starting guard Adaya Plastow left the game midway through the first quarter with a head injury. Despite the absence of the scrappy guard, Mitchell held Pierre to 30.8 percent shooting in a 46-36 win on Thursday at the Corn Palace. It’s the Kernels’ (6-2) third straight win.
“Sometimes you got to win ugly. Tonight was definitely an ugly win,” Mitchell coach Cole Knippling said. “We didn’t run our offense that great, but we were tougher than nails. Defensively, we set the tone in the second half, came out and pressured them full court.”
Sarah Sebert started the second half in place of Plastow, and then played all of the crunch time minutes down the stretch alongside Mitchell’s usual four starters. She and Avia Haley each had three steals, while Camryn Krogman added a pair of steals.
“(Sebert’s) just a really solid player and plays winning basketball,” Knippling said. “Makes a ton of plays all over the floor on both ends. She’s always ready to step up and plays well every time.”
Sebert stepped up defensively to help slow down Pierre. The Governors (4-5) led 18-13 at halftime, though that was more due to Mitchell only scoring two points in the second quarter rather than an offensive explosion. Both teams shot 26.3 percent from the field in the first half.
Mitchell started to press Pierre after the break, though. The Governors were able to stay ahead for most of the third quarter by hitting timely 3-pointers, finishing 6-for-14 in the game, but their 20 turnovers and Mitchell’s dominance on the glass started to show.
Macy Kempf had a 13-point, 13-rebound double-double, including four offensive boards. The Kernels held a 36-22 advantage on the glass, limiting the Governors to three offensive rebounds.
“Coach K always tells us if we can bring our presence on the defensive end all the way up the floor, we’ll be pretty successful,” Kempf said.
Mitchell’s press played a hand in its 8-2 run to end the third quarter to bring it to a 33-33 tie. Then, the dominance it showed on defense and the glass trickled onto the other end.
The Kernels, who shot 4 of 18 from deep, saw Haley knock down a pair of 3s in the fourth quarter, while Krogman scored five of her 11 points in the final frame, too. Haley finished with 11 points and Sawyer Stoebner added six points.
Mitchell finished at the rim better, and also committed fewer turnovers, whether that was limiting Pierre’s deflections or forcing fewer passes in the post. It turned it over 18 times and shot 36.4 percent from the field, though was without one of its main ball-handlers in Plastow.
“They pressured us really well,” Knippling said. “They had a ton of deflections. They were really up in our passing lanes. I didn’t think we were fighting for our spots that well early. We weren’t running clean offense.”
Still, even when Mitchell went long stretches without a bucket, its defense kept it in the game. It started the fourth quarter on a 13-0 run, holding Pierre without a point until 1:01 remained. The Governors first made field goal came with 34 seconds to play.
“I thought our defense really brought us back into this game,” Kempf said. “We went into the locker room at halftime and focused on, we need to get up, get in their grill and play good defense. And then our offense will start to flow.”
Mitchell travels to Sioux Falls Lincoln at 7 p.m. Tuesday.
Mitchell 46, Pierre 36
Pierre (4-5): Remington Price 3-10 0-0 7, Jessica Lutmer 0-2 1-3 1, Caytee Williams 3-6 3-4 11, Hannah Sazue 2-4 2-3 7, Kenzie Gronlund 0-5 0-0 0, Layni Stevens 1-4 0-0 3, Ryann Barry 0-1 0-0 0, Ayvrie Kaiser 2-6 0-0 5, Sydney Tedrow 0-0 0-0 0, Reese Terwilliger 1-1 0-0 2. Team totals: 12-39 6-10 36.
Mitchell (6-2): Adaya Plastow 0-0 0-0 0, Avia Haley 4-11 0-0 11, Camryn Krogman 3-13 5-6 11, Sawyer Stoebner 2-7 2-2 6, Macy Kempf 5-5 3-3 13, Lizzie Tyler 0-1, 0-0 0, Taylor Giblin 1-3 0-0 3, Ella Flippin 0-0 0-0 0, Sarah Sebert 1-4 0-0 2, Gabby Sonne 0-0 0-0 0, Maiyah Turner 0-0 0-0 0. Team totals: 16-44 10-11 46.
P 6 18 33 36
MHS 11 13 33 46
3-pointers: P 6-14 (Williams 2-3, Price 1-2, Sazue 1-1, Stevens 1-3, Kaiser 1-2, Barry 0-1, Lutmer 0-1); MHS 4-18 (Haley 3-9, Giblin 1-2, Krogman 0-5, Sebert 0-2). Rebounds: P 22 (Kaiser 5); MHS 36 (Kempf 13). Assists: P 5 (Sazue 3); MHS 8 (Sebert 2). Blocked shots: P 1; MHS 2. Steals: P 3; MHS 9 (Haley 3, Sebert 3). Turnovers: P 20; MHS 18. Total fouls: P 10; MHS 14.