Caden Hinker surpasses 1,000 career points as the Mitchell Kernels handle No. 2 Harrisburg late

Caden Hinker scored 26 of his 34 points in the first half and Mitchell held Harrisburg without a point for more than 5 minutes to end the game.

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HARRISBURG — Caden Hinker helped give Mitchell High School the lead. Lucas Moller helped slam the door.

Hinker entered Saturday’s game against Class AA No. 2 Harrisburg needing 24 points to reach 1,000 for his career. He exploded for 26 of his career-high 34 points in the first half as the fourth-ranked Kernels built a 13-point halftime lead and extended it to 18 early in the third quarter.

The Tigers began to chip away and ended the third quarter on a 17-4 run. Moller had yet to score a point entering the fourth quarter, but a pair of 3-pointers sparked a 13-0 run to end the game, as Mitchell held Harrisburg scoreless in the final 5 minutes, 35 seconds for a 64-46 win.

“(Harrisburg) is a team that’s going to be in the state tournament and if we want to consider ourselves one of those teams, then we have to step up and they did that,” MHS head coach Todd Neuendorf said. “They were a little upset. We thought we let one get away Thursday (against Sioux Falls Roosevelt). I know people will talk about the scoring, but I thought we defended really well.”

Hinker carried the Kernels early, continuing a red-hot scoring streak that has seen him score at least 20 points in three consecutive games , but nothing quite like his offensive onslaught against the Tigers.


The 6-foot-6 junior hit an array of mid-range jumpers, canned three 3-pointers and went 13 of 14 from the free-throw line in the game. Hinker scored 26 of Mitchell’s 38 points in the first half, including four points in the final minute to swell the lead.

For the second consecutive game, Zane Alm was held in check as Harrisburg shaded extra defenders upon post entries, which left Hinker one-on-one opportunities.

“Once my first 3 goes in, it kind of opens the floodgates and my teammates did a really good job of getting me the ball," Hinker said. "... I could tell they were really hard on Zane. But that also helped open me up, because I got one-on-one, which takes pressure off me and I can do more to help the team."

Harrisburg (11-3) had seen enough of Hinker and began to double-team him when he caught the ball in the second half. Dylan Soulek hit a deep 3 and followed it with a strip and slam, but the Kernel offense went cold, mustering four points the remainder of the third quarter.

The Tigers scored four quick points in the waning moments of the third, including a buzzer-beating dunk by Hayden Muirhead, but the Mitchell (13-3) defense took control.

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Leading by five, the Kernels held Harrisburg scoreless on three consecutive possessions before Alm was able score on an old-fashioned 3-point play to set up Moller’s back-to-back 3s. Alm swatted five shots defensively, which allowed the Kernels to guard tighter on the perimeter, resulting in Harrisburg shooting 3 of 17 from beyond the arc.

As Moller found himself open due the Tigers shifting the defense to Hinker and Alm, he also hounded Harrisburg’s Conner Geddes, holding him to 12 points on 5 of 13 shooting.

“(Harrisburg) made a run and we knew they would, they're a really good team," Moller said. "We weathered it and in past years, that's something we wouldn't have done. It was a big step for us to weather a good team's run. We stepped up and our defense won us that game."

Hinker added 12 rebounds and four assists to his stat line, while Soulek pitched in 11 points and six rebounds. Alm had eight points and seven rebounds.

Blaze Lubbers had 12 points and Muirhead finished with 10 points for Harrisburg, which saw its five-game winning streak end.

Mitchell returns to action against Sioux Falls O’Gorman at 7 p.m. Tuesday at the Corn Palace.

Mitchell 64, Harrisburg 46


Mitchell (13-3): Caden Hinker 9-15 13-14 34, Zane Alm 2-5 4-5 8, Lucas Moller 2-4 0-0 6, Ben Helleloid 1-3 0-0 2, Dylan Soulek 5-8 0-0 11, Aiden Myers 0-0 0-0 0, Jonah Schmidt 0-0 0-0 0, Gavyn Degen 1-2 0-0 3, Charlie McCardle 0-0 0-0 0, Steele Morgan 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 20-38 17-19 64.

Harrisburg (11-3): Blaze Lubbers 4-9 4-8 12, Conner Geddes 5-13 0-1 12, Andrew Walter 2-6 0-0 5, Hayden Muirhead 4-9 2-3 10, Brayden Phipps 1-5 1-2 3, Nate Hoyt 1-4 0-2 2, Triston Jansma 0-0 0-0 0, Ethyn Rollinger 1-1 0-0 2, Gavin Aasheim 0-0 0-0 0, Taylor Klein 0-0 0-0 0, Ethan Determan 0-0 0-0 0, Luke Morton 0-0 0-0 0, Nick Tschudy 0-2 0-1 0. Totals 18-49 7-17 46.

MHS 16 38 47 64

HHS 19 25 42 46

3-pointers: MHS 7-19 (Hinker 3-6, Moller 2-4, Degen 1-2, Soulek 1-3, Alm 0-1, Morgan 0-1, Helleloid 0-2); HHS 3-16 (Geddes 2-7, Walter 1-2, Lubbers 0-1, Muirhead 0-1, Tschudy 0-1, Hoyt 0-2, Phipps 0-2). Rebounds: MHS 35 (Hinker 12); HHS 23 (Lubbers 5). Assists: MHS 13 (Hinker 4); HHS 2 (Two players with 1). Steals: MHS 5 (Alm 2, Soulek 2); HHS 12 (Geddes 4). Blocks: MHS 5 (Alm 5); HHS 0. Fouls: MHS 18; HHS 18. Turnovers: MHS 16; HHS 7.

Sub-varsity: Freshmen: Mitchell ‘A’ 64, Harrisburg 59. Harrisburg 41, Mitchell ‘B’ 36.

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