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Kernels boys find a way to grow throughout season

A season filled with more lows than highs usually doesn't end with a lot of optimism. That isn't the case for the Mitchell High School boys basketball team, which finished with a record of 5-18 but came one game away from reaching the Class AA st...

A season filled with more lows than highs usually doesn't end with a lot of optimism.

That isn't the case for the Mitchell High School boys basketball team, which finished with a record of 5-18 but came one game away from reaching the Class AA state tournament.

"This team came so far and came together," MHS head coach Erik Skoglund said. "It's disappointing because of how close we were. These young men stuck together through the thick and thin, and came together for one common cause."

The regular season wasn't kind to the Kernels, which had two losing streaks of six games or more. The logistics of the schedule was even crueler as Mitchell had to play its final six regular season games on the road and ended the season with three postseason road games.

"It was disappointing that we didn't get more regular season wins," Skoglund said. "It cost us home games in the playoffs."

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Despite facing an uphill battle entering the postseason, the Kernels were able to pull off an upset against rival Huron, the top-seeded team in District 3AA. After losing to the Tigers by a combined 46 points in two previous games, Mitchell stunned Huron 57-48 on March 1 in Huron. Mitchell threatened to win the district title, leading Pierre in the fourth quarter, but another upset wasn't in the cards as the Governors' pulled out a 62-56 win on March 4. The Kernels' chance for a state tournament bid via the Region 2AA title game fell short 64-55 to Rapid City Central on March 8 in Rapid City.

"The progress the Kernel basketball team made, especially in the last month, gave us a chance to put us in a position to play with the best teams in the state," Skoglund said. "That was the type of team we were looking for all season."

Junior Conner Morgan, who emerged as a top scoring threat halfway through the season, led the Kernels with an average of 10.8 points per game. Senior Wyatt Smith averaged 8.6 points and 7.3 rebounds per game, while senior Gray Determan averaged eight points per game. Junior point guard Jed Schmidt led Mitchell with 66 assists and 18 steals. Mitchell averaged 51 points per game and allowed 63 points per game.
"The only disappointment is we couldn't keep playing and practicing further into March," Skoglund said.

The Kernels will say goodbye to four seniors-Determan and Smith, along with Mitch Price and Kyle Jamison. Skoglund said his four seniors showed the dedication it takes for any team to come within one game of the state tournament.

Looking forward, Skoglund said his players can take a lot from the growing pains of this season, as well as the postseason experience. Mitchell will return three regular starters in Schmidt and Morgan, as well as junior Elijah Pommer. Sophomore Carter Cavanaugh and juniors Reed Overweg, Cody Reichelt, Sam Mock and Ryland DeVries also saw numerous minutes this season.

"No more needs to be said about how far these guys have come and how much experience has been gained," he said. "The motivation to work in the spring, get after it in the summer, is there. These guys know what it takes to win on the road in a hostile environment."

Season stats

Mitchell (5-18, 3-13 ESD)

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Jed Schmidt 44-121 23-33 124 Jordon Johnson 0-1 0-0 0 Ryland DeVries 2-15 0-0 6 Connor Morgan 83-257 52-83 249 Sam Mock 1-3 2-2 4 Elijah Pommer 18-65 12-16 59 Carter Cavanaugh 48-134 24-35 135 Gray Determan 67-165 25-33 186 Baley Miller 0-2 0-0 0 Kyle Jamison 12-44 10-13 31 Reed Overweg 14-30 10-13 41 Cody Reichelt 2-6 6-10 10 Vincent Michael 0-0 0-0 0 Cooper Knutson 0-0 0-0 00 Mitch Price 61-108 16-23 138 Wyatt Smith 83-148 32-62 198

TOTALS 435-1099 207-318 1,181

3-point goals: 104-379 (Morgan 31, Determan 27, Cavanaugh 15, Schmidt 13, Pommer 11, Overweg 3, Jamison 2, DeVries 2); Assists: 231 (Schmidt 66, Cavanaugh 35, Determan 35, Pommer 34, Morgan 27, Jamison 13, Price 6, Smith 5, DeVries 5, Overweg 4, Smock 1); Rebounds: 773 (Smith 169, Team rebounds 141, Determan 111, Price 96, Morgan 67, Schmidt 58, Cavanaugh 36, Pommer 34, DeVries 8, Reichelt 6, Mock 2, Johnson 1); Steals: 102 (Schmidt 18, Morgan 15, Determan 15, Pommer 13, Cavanaugh 13, Smith 12, Price 9, Jamison 4, Overweg 2, DeVries 2); Blocks: 73 (Smith 34, Determan 21, Price 13, Jamison 2, Overweg 1, DeVries 1); Turnovers: 443; Fouls: 376

Related Topics: KERNELSBASKETBALL
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