YANKTON — Hand in his face? No problem. Clock winding down? No problem.
Matthew Mors was unmoved by any defense Mitchell High School sent in his direction. The Class AA No. 4 Kernels contested all of his 25 shots, but Mors still torched them for 33 points to put second-ranked Yankton on his back.
Mors scored 12 of his 20 second-half points in the third quarter, capped by a pair of 3-pointers — including a buzzer-beating fall away 3 — to push a six-point lead to 12 as the Bucks moved past Mitchell, 53-44.
Jonah Schmidt spent large portions of the game guarding the 6-foot-7 University of Wisconsin commit and allowed little separation. and have dropped 15 consecutive games to Yankton, with the last win coming Feb. 7, 2012.
“(Mors) hit some spinning shots that we were right there on him,” MHS head coach Todd Neuendorf said. “If he can rise up and hit those shots, (Yankton’s) going to be good. I don’t know who can guard him in the state. … Hopefully down the road, we get another opportunity to play, because I think we’re as good as anybody.”
With Caden Hinker guarding him, Mors bullied his way to the rim for an early layup, getting on track early. He scored seven points in the first quarter and 13 in the first half to help Yankton (14-3) build a seven-point advantage at halftime.
Jonah Schmidt spent large portions of the game guarding the 6-foot-7 University of Wisconsin commit and allowed little separation. But with a 5-inch height advantage, Mors was able to rise overtop.
Mors went 13-for-25 in the game — knocking down three of his four 3-pointers in the second half — while Mitchell the rest of the Bucks to 9 of 23 shooting. However, Yankton secured nine offensive rebounds, often leading to a Mors basket.
“Second-chance opportunities come from hard work, grit and wanting to get the ball more,” Mors said. “Being able to capitalize on those second-chance opportunities is what we took advantage of tonight and it worked in our favor.”
Mors was also a big factor on defense, spending most of the game guarding Zane Alm, who told the Mitchell Republic Mors was the most physical defender he’s ever faced. His teammates were just as physical, knocking Mitchell (13-5) cutters off their path offensively and beating them to rebounds.
Hinker was face-guarded by Trevor Fitzgerald and was limited to 12 points on 5 of 14 shooting. The Kernels shot 42.9% from the field and have scored less than 50 points in four of five losses this season.
“We knew it was going to be physical and this is the way a state tournament is refed,” Neuendorf said. “I thought Zane did a nice job, he was getting leaned on. I thought Hinker got pushed out a little too far and hopped to the perimeter. Those are things you learn playing good teams down the stretch, and ultimately, we have to hit some shots from the perimeter.”
Alm finished with 11 points, six blocks and five rebounds, while Ben Helleloid chipped in eight points.
Jaden Kral had seven points and 12 rebounds off the bench for Yankton.
Mitchell returns to action against Class AA No. 1 Sioux Falls Washington at 7 p.m. Tuesday in Sioux Falls.
Yankton 53, MItchell 44
Mitchell (13-5): Caden Hinker 5-14 0-0 12, Zane Alm 4-8 3-4 11, Lucas Moller 0-2 0-0 0, Ben Helleloid 4-6 0-1 8, Dylan Soulek 2-5 0-0 5, Jonah Schmidt 0-0 0-0 0, Gavyn Degen 2-6 1-2 6, Charlie McCardle 1-1 0-0 2, Steele Morgan 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 18-42 4-6 44.
Yankton (14-3): Kaden Luellman 0-1 0-0 0, Rugby Ryken 3-8 0-1 6, Aidan Feser 0-3 0-0 0, Trevor Fitzgerald 2-6 0-2 4, Matthew Mors 13-25 3-5 33, Dylan Prouty 1-1 0-0 3, Max Raab 0-0 0-0 0, Jaden Kraal 3-4 0-0 7, Colton Potts 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 22-48 3-8 53.
MHS 6 20 31 44
YHS 12 27 43 53
3-point field goals: MHS 4-15 (Hinker 2-5, Soulek 1-2, Degen 1-4, Alm 0-1, Helleloid 0-1, Moller 0-2); YHS 6-14 (Mors 4-8, Prouty 1-1, Kral 1-2, Fitzgerald 0-1, Ryken 0-2). Rebounds: MHS 26 (Hinker 6); YHS 30 (Kral 7). Assists: MHS 10 (Hinker 3); YHS 6 (Ryken 3). Steals: MHS 3 (Three players with 1); YHS 9 (Ryken 3). Blocks: MHS 7 (Alm 6); YHS 1 (Mors 1). Fouls: MHS 13; YHS 11. Turnovers: MHS 13, YHS 8.