Kernels' high-powered offense leading to wins

In his second year as the Mitchell High School boys basketball coach, Erik Skoglund has already accomplished something longtime coach Gary Munsen never did.


In his second year as the Mitchell High School boys basketball coach, Erik Skoglund has already accomplished something longtime coach Gary Munsen never did.

That's lead his team to score 90 points in a game.

Then, Skoglund's team scored 100 points in its next game.

While Skoglund is happy his team is scoring a plentiful amount of points, the statistic he cares more about is the two victories.

"The records we are chasing are the ones hanging up at the Corn Palace," Skoglund said. "We are chasing state titles, and we don't go into any game trying to score 100 points. We just go out and try to outscore the other team."


After two wins in two games this season, the Kernels are averaging an astounding 95 points a game. They scored 90 points against Pierre on Friday and 100 points against Harrisburg on Tuesday.

"Our two opponents have wanted to run," Skoglund said. "Don't think that the Kernels are some kind of offensive powerhouse, because both Pierre and Harrisburg wanted to run. We are going to run into teams that will walk it up. We just haven't seen that yet."

In Munsen's 39 years as head coach of the Kernels, his team scored 80 or more points during the regular season 12 times. During the 1986-87 season, in a game against Watertown, a Munsen-led Kernels team scored 89 points. That's the highest scoring mark during Munsen's tenure.

Skoglund said this year's team enjoys playing with plenty of pace. Now, the high-powered offense has Mitchell basketball enthusiasts wondering if the team will keep up this scoring pace all season.

"My philosophy is that this is how every kid wants to play basketball. They want to run up and down the court," Skoglund said. "They want to work on their offensive game. Basketball is still an offensive game and you can see that by how it is being called on the floor."

This year's offensive numbers weren't typical from Mitchell last year, the first season Skoglund led the program. Mitchell scored a season-high 68 points in a three-point loss to Harrisburg on the road last season.

While the Kernels have consecutive games with high scoring totals this year, Skoglund was quick to point out his defense also gave up more than 80 points in both games.

"Everybody wants to talk about 90 and 100, but we have given up 83 and 84," Skoglund said,


The Kernels' depth also played a role in the team's offensive success, as Mitchell has played more than 10 players in both wins.

Munsen said he is impressed with how quickly the team has embraced Skoglund's style.

"They are shooting a good percentage and the kids really set up well for a dribble-drive offense," Munsen said. "The kids have confidence, and give Skoglund credit for giving his players that confidence. I'm just happy they have two Ws."

Aside from Munsen and Skoglund, when the program was led for one year by Tom Young in 2012-13, the Kernels scored 70 points in a win over Rapid City Central.

The scores have surprised some people in Mitchell, but Skoglund said his players deserve credit for the hard work they put in during the offseason.

"Every player has gotten better," Skoglund said. "We are smarter, stronger and our skill develop has improved. We are a team unit and we work together."

Mitchell is in action next when it hosts Rapid City Central at 8 p.m. Friday at the Corn Palace.

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