Kernels shoot down Thunder Basin: Degen, Morgan provide lift off bench

Degen and Morgan combined for 24 points

Mitchell's Gavyn Degen (24) goes to the basket as Thunder Basin's (Wyo.) Andre Felton (2) looks on during a game on Wednesday at the Corn Palace.

Mitchell’s sixth straight win was much like the rest.

The Kernels (6-0) once again received solid performances from Caden Hinker and Zane Alm, but a pair of reserves boosted them in a 62-46 win over Thunder Basin (Wyo.) on Wednesday.

Alm finished with 17 points and five assists, while Hinker added nine points and 13 boards. But the Bolts constantly doubled and tripled team the duo in the post, which opened up opportunities for Gavyn Degen and Steele Morgan.

“Zane and Hink, at times there were three guys on them,” Mitchell coach Todd Neuendorf. “We had a plan in place and we worked it this morning at eight. The kids carried out what they were supposed to. I love it when a plan comes together. That doesn’t happen all the time, but it did.”

Degen netted 13 points -- 10 in the first half -- to provide some bench scoring. He finished 6 of 9 from the field and added five boards in 25 minutes.


Neuendorf challenged Degen in the second half of Tuesday’s win over Campbell County and he continued to respond Wednesday.

“We believe 100% in Gavyn Degen and we believe that he can provide some punch for us and tonight he was really good,” Neuendorf said.

Morgan, meanwhile, finished with 11 points on 5 of 5 shooting from the field. He added seven rebounds in 19 minutes. Morgan also made his lone 3-point attempt, but Neuendorf expects it from the sophomore forward.

“Steele can make that shot,” Neuendorf said. “He does it all the time in practice. That’s what we see out of him.”

The Kernels and Bolts played to a 14-14 first-quarter draw. But the Kernels used a 12-3 second-quarter surge to go into halftime with a 26-17 advantage. That’s when Degen scored his 10 first-half points, including six of the last eight Kernel points.

“It was huge and the best thing about this team is we have guys that trust each other,” Degen said. “Caden was getting double and even tripled team all game. He had the confidence to pass out and had big trust between our teammates. That was huge.”

The Kernels maintained a comfortable advantage, with Morgan scoring six straight points to end the third quarter and give Mitchell a 42-31 lead.

The Kernels closed it out from there and continued to hold the Bolts in check. Thunder Basin was led by McKale Holte’s 22 points and six 3-pointers. Deegan Williams added 16 points on 7 of 19 shooting from the field.


Mitchell shot a whopping 71 percent (15 of 21) in the second half. The Bolts hit just eight of their 37 3-point attempts. The Kernels also out-rebounded the Bolts, 36-20.

“I thought for the most part defensively we were solid, too,” Neuendorf said. “We worked hard and we made them work for shots. They made some deep ones, but you live with that.”

The Kernels also held another opponent under 50 points for the sixth consecutive game.

“It’s been good all season,” Degen said about the defense. “We haven’t had a team score above 50 points so it’s been huge. That’s probably the biggest part in winning all these games.”

The Kernels will now play their first road game of the season on Jan. 9 at Huron.

“It’s been a long time since we’ve gone to Huron and beat them,” Degen said. “It would be good to go and get some road wins and build our confidence even more down the stretch.”

Mitchell 62, Thunder Basin 46

Thunder Basin: D Williams 7-19 0-2 16, A Felton 0-2 0-0 0, E Cox 1-8 4-5 6, C Ayers 0-4 0-0 0 M Holter 8-14 0-0 22, C Hanson 0-1 0-0 0, R Baker 0-3 0-0 0, W Tarter 1-1 0-0 2. Team totals: 17-52 4-7 46.


Mitchell (6-0): Caden Hinker 4-11 0-0 9, Zane Alm 7-9 3-4 17, Lucas Moller 1-3 0-0 3, Ben Helleloid 2-3 2-3 6, Dylan Soulek 1-4 0-0 2, Jonah Schmidt 0-1 1-2 1. Gavyn Degen 6-9 0-0 13, Steele Morgan 5-5 0-0 11. Team totals: 26-45 6-9 62.

TB 14 17 31 46

MHS 14 26 42 62

3-pointers: TB 8-37 (Williams 2-12, Holter 6-12, Felton 0-1, Cox 0-4, Ayers 0-4, Hanson 0-1, Baker 0-3); MHS 4-12 (Hinker 1-4, Degen 1-2, Morgan 1-1, Moller 1-3, Soulek 0-2). Rebounds: TB 20; MHS 36 (Hinker 13, Morgan 7). Assists: TB 5; MHS 12 (Alm 5). Blocked shots: TB 0; MHS 5 (Hinker 2, Alm 2). Steals: TB 8 (Williams 3, Holter 3); MHS 3 (Degen 2). Turnovers: TB 3; MHS 12. Total fouls: TB 9; MHS 10.

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