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Kernels go cold as Pierre's Lincoln Kienholz sinks game-winner in final minute

The Class AA No. 3 Kernels spent most Tuesday’s game against Pierre searching for consistency. But each time they appeared on the verge of a game-breaking run, Mitchell threw an ill-advised pass that led to a Governor basket until it was back-breaking.

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Mitchell's Dylan Soulek (23) drives to the basket as Pierre's James Mikkonen (50) defends during a game on Tuesday night at the Corn Palace. (Matt Gade / Republic)

Mitchell High School tossed the ball into a sea of arms one too many times.

The Class AA No. 3 Kernels spent most Tuesday’s game against Pierre searching for consistency. But each time they appeared on the verge of a game-breaking run, Mitchell threw an ill-advised pass that led to a Governor basket until it was back-breaking.

Coming out of a timeout in the final minute, the Kernels attempted to force the ball to a well-covered Zane Alm and Pierre went the other way.

Lincoln Kienholz drove to the rim, floating a shot over the out-stretched arms of the 6-foot-10 Alm for the game-winning basket with seconds to play as the Governors stunned Mitchell 46-44 at the Corn Palace.

“Hopefully it doesn’t cost us down the road, because this is one that we didn’t get beat, we lost,” MHS head coach Todd Neuendorf said. “We did it to ourselves. I give Pierre credit, don’t get me wrong. ... We’re not focusing on the little things, we’re not taking care of the details, we’re not taking care of the basketball — we don’t understand time and score and we’re throwing the ball around.”

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Mitchell (10-2) overcame a sloppy start to the game by scoring the final seven points of the frame to take a 14-13, appearing poised to make a run, but it proved to be a precursor for the remainder of the night as Pierre took a 25-24 halftime lead.

GALLERY: Kernel boys fall to Pierre at the Corn Palace

The Kernels opened a five-point lead in the third quarter, but allowed the Governors to claw back into the game. Gavyn Degen sank a jump shot with his toe on the 3-point lead as Mitchell took a six-point lead in the fourth quarter, only for it to be erased by an 8-0 run featuring a pair of 3-pointers from Matthew Hanson.

“You worry about somebody in their own gym, even if they’re having a tough shooting night because they’re still in their comfort zone,” Pierre head coach Terry Becker said. “(Caden) Hinker was a guy that we had to pay attention to because he’s a guy that can get streaky and hot. We were fortunate enough to get enough stops to win the game.”

Neuendorf felt Mitchell played well enough defensively to win the game, but a failure to find a rhythm on offense gave Pierre (5-7) too many opportunities.

The Governors switched defenses throughout the game, but were most successful with a 3-2 zone, daring the Kernels to take 3-pointers from the corners rather than driving into the paint or finding an open player at the rim.

Up-to-date photos, stories and statistics for Mitchell basketball's 2020-2021 season

They went 1-for-14 from beyond the arc and committed 12 turnovers en route to shooting a season-worst 38.6% from the field. Mitchell went without a made field goal for the 4 minutes, 42 seconds of the game, including two missed layups by Caden Hinker and another by Zane Alm in the final 4.1 seconds of the game.

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“There’s always an open 3 against a zone and if you’re not going to make them, you’re going to get what we got tonight,” Neuendorf said. “We wanted to go inside, but we didn’t get it in there. It looked like we hadn’t played basketball before. … We didn’t even turn it over in the full-court, we turned it over in the half-court against a zone and that’s inexcusable.”

Hinker finished with 17 points on 6-for-16shooting, while grabbing 12 rebounds and four assists. Alm chipped in 12 points, six rebounds and three blocks.

Kienholz led Pierre with 17 points on 5 of 16 shooting, while grabbing six rebounds. Hanson finished with 12 points on 4 of 5 shooting from 3-point range.

Mitchell travels to Sturgis at 8 p.m. on Friday.

Pierre 46, Mitchell 44

Pierre (4-7): Jackson Edman 1-5 0-0 4, Houston Lunde 0-0 0-0 0, James Mikkonen 2-6 0-0 4, Lincoln Kienholz 5-16 6-9 17, Bennett Dean 3-7 0-0 7, Matthew Hanson 4-7 0-0 12, Jacob Mayer 2-3 0-0 4, Christian Busch 0-1 0-0 0, Denton Beck 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 17-45 6-9 46.

Mitchell (10-2): Caden Hinker 6-16 4-6 17, Zane Alm 5-10 2-3 12, Lucas Moller 0-2 0-0 0, Ben Helleloid 2-4 3-4 7, Dylan Soulek 0-2 0-2 0, Jonah Schmidt 0-0 0-0 0, Gavyn Degen 2-6 0-0 4, Steele Morgan 2-4 0-0 4. Totals 17-44 9-15 44.

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P 13 25 35 46

MHS 14 24 38 44

3-pointers: P 6-15 (Hanson 4-5, Dean 1-3, Kienholz 1-7), MHS 1-14 (Hinker 1-8, Moller 0-2, Degen 0-4). Rebounds: P 30 (Kienholz 6, Hanson 6), MHS 31 (Hinker 12). Assists: P 5 (Edman 2), MHS 9 (Hinker 4). Steals: P 7 (Hanson 3), MHS 3 (Three players with 1). Blocks: P 0, MHS 4 (Alm 3). Turnovers: P 14, MHS 12. Fouls: P 17, MHS 11.

Sub-varsity: Sophomore: Pierre 53, Mitchell 52. Freshmen: Pierre ‘A’ 39, Mitchell 37. Pierre ‘B’ 44, Mitchell 33.

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