Bobcats block Kernels' upset effort

The fast start didn't last Tuesday for the Kernels. The Mitchell boys basketball team blistered the nets for a season-best 23 points in the first quarter but shot 27 percent over the final three quarters. That led to a 62-55 loss to Brookings in ...

Mitchell's Carter Jacobsen (24) grabs a rebound while his teammate Jordon Johnson (4) reaches up during a game against Brookings on Tuesday at the Corn Palace. (Matt Gade / Republic)

The fast start didn't last Tuesday for the Kernels.

The Mitchell boys basketball team blistered the nets for a season-best 23 points in the first quarter but shot 27 percent over the final three quarters. That led to a 62-55 loss to Brookings in Eastern South Dakota Conference play at the Corn Palace and kept Mitchell without a win this season with four regular-season games left.

It was the first victory for Brookings (3-11, 3-9 ESD) since the Bobcats eked out a 51-46 overtime win over MHS Dec. 19 in Brookings, while Mitchell (0-16, 0-12 ESD) saw its losing streak extend to 39 after a golden chance for a win slipped away.

"It was kind of the same thing as all year," Mitchell coach Todd Neuendorf said. "We scored 23 points in the first quarter and we scored 30 the rest of the game. We're not going to win many games averaging 10 points per quarter."

The Kernels were red hot early in the game, thanks to senior Carter Cavanaugh carrying the offense. Mitchell was 9-for-15 shooting in the first quarter, in which Cavanaugh drained a pair of late 3-pointers to hold a 23-15 advantage after the first quarter.


Cavanaugh finished with 19 points in the half, thanks to a pair of interior baskets in the final 2 minutes before halftime to put Mitchell ahead 31-27 at intermission. It marked the first time all season Mitchell has led at halftime.

"Cavanaugh came out and hit some tough shots," Brookings coach Travis Engebretson said. "A few of those early were a communication breakdown for us. When he can get confidence, he can get it going. We changed it up defensively (pressuring full court) and that kind of changed the tempo and slowed them down a little bit."

Brookings answered in a big way in the third quarter, outscoring Mitchell 20-7. Drew Cole, the leading Bobcat scorer who was scoreless in the first half, scored five points in a quick 7-1 run. Brookings pieced together a 15-2 run before Cavanaugh stemmed the bleeding with a 3-pointer late in the quarter, which ended with Brookings leading by nine.

The Bobcats were 21-for-26 on free throws for the game and 16-for-21 in the second half, finding a way to be persistent to salt away the game. They were 7-for-8 at the stripe in the final minute, after Mitchell's Kiel Nelson drilled a 3-pointer to bring the deficit down to 55-51.

"We had to persevere a little bit and stay with it when we were down early," Engebretson said. "Down the stretch, the execution was good. We were able to stay with that lead and Mitchell hit some big baskets when we were up six or eight and we were able to answer."

Cavanaugh finished 10-of-21 shooting, including four 3-pointers. Nelson finished with 14 points and eight rebounds, while Jordon Johnson had a team-best nine rebounds. The guard combo of Riley Schafer (20 points) and Trevor Woodall (18) picked apart the Kernels, as Brookings shot 53 percent in the second half and 47 percent for the game. Cole finished with 10 points and 15 rebounds.

"It wasn't our defense," Neuendorf said. "It was the offense. That just wasn't going to cut it for us."

Brookings visits Brandon Valley on Thursday, while Mitchell travels to Yankton for a boys-girls doubleheader on Friday.


"I don't know what to tell them, to be honest," Neuendorf said. "It's not for a lack of effort. It seems like the other team can make some of these circus shots and we get a good look and it hits every part of the rim and bounces out. ... When we get open looks, we have to knock them down."


JV: Brookings won 52-50. Hunter Stahle had 17 points for Mitchell, which nearly rallied out of a 22-point halftime deficit.

Sophomores: Mitchell won 56-39. Ben Helleloid and Stahle each had 12 points, while Caden Hinker had 11.

Freshmen A: Brookings won 40-37. Nick Rubendall had 11 points for Mitchell.

Freshmen B: Mitchell won 58-24. Logan Cunningham scored 10 for the Kernels.

Brookings 62, Mitchell 55

Brookings (3-11, 3-9 ESD): Riley Schafer 7-10 6-8 20 Trevor Woodall 4-10 9-10 18 Josh Sell 3-7 3-4 9 Trent Broksieck 2-2 0-0 5 Seth Swedlund 0-0 0-0 0 Drew Cole 3-12 3-4 10 Ryan McMacken 0-0 0-0 0 Totals 19-41 21-26 62


Mitchell (0-16, 0-12 ESD): Kiel Nelson 5-10 3-5 14 Jordon Johnson 1-4 2-2 5 Carter Cavanaugh 10-21 3-4 27 Baley Miller 0-1 0-0 0 Vincent Michael 0-2 0-0 0 Kaden Soukup 1-8 0-0 3 Derek Factor 0-3 1-4 1 Tate Larson 0-0 0-0 0 Carter Jacobsen 2-3 0-0 5 Totals 19-52 9-15 55

B 15 27 47 62

M 23 31 38 55

3-point goals: B 3-13 (Woodall, Broksieck, Cole), M 8-30 (Cavanaugh 4, Jacobsen, Soukup, Johnson, Nelson); Rebounds-offensive: B 30-5 (Cole 15, Sell 8), M 31-10 (Johnson 9, Nelson 8). Total fouls: B 11, M 19. Fouled out: Miller (1:47, 4th). Assists: B 3 (Schafer, Sell, McMacken), M 13 (Cavanaugh 4). Turnovers: B 7, M 6. Blocks: B 1 (Woodall), M 0. Steals: B 6 (Woodall 4), M (Cavanaugh 3).

Related Topics: KERNELS
Traxler is the assistant editor and sports editor for the Mitchell Republic. He's worked for the newspaper since 2014 and has covered a wide variety of topics. He can be reached at
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"Maybe not a lot of other people thought we'd be in the situation we're in right now, but we knew," said senior guard Dylan Soulek of the Kernels' 7-2 start.