Fourth-quarter surge lifts Harrisburg over Mitchell boys

The Tigers scored 26 points in the fourth quarter to down No. 5 Mitchell at the Corn Palace.

Mitchell's Dylan Soulek (23) dribbles around the defense of Harrisburg's Gavin Aasheim during a game on Tuesday night at the Corn Palace. Matt Gade / Mitchell Republic
Matt Gade

MITCHELL — It wasn’t quite the start to the new year the Mitchell boys basketball team was looking for.

In a battle of teams ranked near the top of Class AA that was tied after three quarters, Harrisburg, the top vote-getter among teams outside of the top five, pulled away with 26 fourth-quarter points to knock off the fifth-ranked Kernels 68-59 Tuesday night at the Corn Palace.

But finding ways to score was a shortcoming for the Kernels beyond the fourth quarter, as Mitchell shot 19 of 55 (34.5%) for the game compared to Harrisburg’s 23 for 50 (46%) shooting effort, including a 53.8% mark after halftime.

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“That’s what it comes down to sometimes, who’s making shots and who’s not,” said Mitchell coach Ryker Kreutzfeldt. “In the end, they were making shots tonight and we weren’t.”

The teams traded baskets through much of the first quarter, but Harrisburg's Jacoby Mehrman connected on a 3-point heave from just inside half court that put Harrisburg ahead 18-14 after eight minutes.


Midway through the second quarter, Mitchell's Charlie McCardle scored six points across back-to-back trips down the floor — first on a corner 3-point field goal followed by a layup and ensuing free throw after being fouled — to level the contest at 24 points apiece. But the Harrisburg defense stiffened, holding the Kernels to just two points in the four minutes before halftime, as the Tigers held a 29-26 advantage at the break.

GALLERY: Kernel boys against Harrisburg at the Corn Palace
After switching to 2-3 zone defense to start the second half, Mitchell retook the lead for the first time since the first quarter at 36-35 when Steele Morgan secured an offensive rebound and found Caden Hinker for a driving layup plus a free throw with 2 1/2 minutes to play in the third quarter.

The advantage was short-lived, though, as it kickstarted a sequence of seven lead changes in just over two minutes with the quarter capped by a game-tying layup by Harrisburg’s Ethan Determan.

“We put that zone in to keep them guessing,” Kreutzfeldt said. “There’s a couple times we lost them and they got a three, but I thought the zone worked pretty well. In the end we went back to man and Determan got some looks in the fourth quarter and torched us.”

The late third-quarter score was the start of an 11-0 run, as the Tigers built a 51-42 lead early in the final frame and never let the Kernels within five points again.

“We kind of expected everything we saw … Going into the fourth, we were kind of right where we wanted to be,” Hinker said. “But if we had capitalized in the third quarter it's a whole different ball game. We lost track of guys defensively (early in the fourth quarter) and they hit some tough shots, but we also gave them some easy ones. Those compounded and there's your swing, right there.”

Hinker recorded a team-high 23 points for the Kernels to go with six rebounds and four assists. Dylan Soulek added 15 points and four rebounds, while Morgan chipped in nine points and a team-high eight rebounds.


For the Tigers (3-2), Determan scored 23 of his game-high 27 points in the second half, adding six rebounds. Mehrman and Braeden VanBockern notched 16 and 10 points, respectively, with Mehrman also grabbing seven rebounds.

Mitchell (4-2) is back at the Corn Palace on Friday, Jan. 7, for a girls-boys doubleheader against Yankton.

Up-to-date stories, photos and statistics for Mitchell boys basketball's 2021-2022 season

Dierks covers prep and collegiate athletics across the Mitchell Republic's coverage region area, focusing on Mitchell High School football and boys basketball and area high school football, volleyball and basketball, as well as Dakota Wesleyan women's basketball. He was also the lead on the Mitchell Republic Gridiron Spotlight, producing video and providing live play-by-play for the traveling weekly prep football broadcast during its first season in the fall of 2021. Dierks is a Mitchell native who graduated from South Dakota State University with his bachelor's degree in journalism in May 2020. He joined the Mitchell Republic sports staff in August 2021. He can be reached at and found on Twitter at @LDierksy.
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