Jacobsen gives Kernel offense a jolt in first win
Following a loss to Huron last Saturday, the Mitchell High School boys basketball team sat in the bowels of the Corn Palace searching for answers.
The Kernels dropped to 0-6 in a 14-point loss in perhaps the worst offensive performance of the season and Carter Jacobsen’s play mirrored the struggles. He shot 3 of 11 and committed four turnovers.
Mitchell and the senior swingman needed a jolt.
Three days later, a few tweaks to the offensive game plan recharged Jacobsen and he posted two of the best games of his prep career. He combined for 40 points on 14 of 23 shooting, with 10 rebounds and seven steals as the Kernel offense came to life.
Mitchell posted 74 points as Jacobsen scored a career-high 25 points in a double-overtime loss to Sioux Falls Lincoln on Tuesday and followed it up with 15 points on 7-for-9 shooting in the team’s first win of the season against Pierre on Thursday, 73-40.
“I wasn’t really believing in my shot and Coach (Todd) Neuendorf told me he needs me to knock down shots,” Jacobsen said. “It just gave me the boost that I needed. I started making shots and believing in my shot again.”
Schematics aided Jacobsen’s resurgence from a start that saw him shoot 39 percent from the field in the first six games, but he has also used a pair of hot starts in the last two games to get rolling.
Against Lincoln, Jacobsen scored 18 of his 25 points in the first half, but it did not compare to his encore against Pierre. After Mitchell had a rocky first minute of the game, Jacobsen caught fire. He scored 11 first-quarter points on 6 of 6 shooting to spark a 14-2 run to end the frame, breaking the game open.
“We don’t get Jake going, he gets himself going,” Neuendorf said. “We don’t run much for Jake. He just goes to the boards and does the dirty work. We run a couple sets where he’s an option, but he’s not the main option. You have to give him credit and he’s done it through hard work.”
On a team of young, even-keeled players, Jacobsen is the lone senior and his swashbuckling, slashing style has proved infectious. After scoring eight of the team’s first 11 points, Jacobsen took a bump from a Pierre defender and drained an off-balance jump shot, letting out a roar that fired his Kernel teammates and the Corn Palace crowd.
Not long after, Caden Hinker followed his fellow co-captain’s lead and began to heat up. He scored 12 of his career-high 28 points in the second quarter and attributed it to Jacobsen’s play.
“He just brings a fire when he gets going,” Hinker said. “He’s kind of our engine and we need him. On nights where I’m not having my best game, he’s there to step up. He’s a good player.”
If Mitchell is able to capitalize on its upcoming home stretch and climb out of a 1-7 hole in the standings, Jacobsen will be at the heart of it. The Kernels believed they needed one win to break out of the Class AA basement.
“It’s going to be a tidal-wave effect,” Jacobsen said. “Once we one thing gets going, it’s going to keep going and we’ll pile on.”
Mitchell returns to action against Watertown on Jan. 24 at the Corn Palace.