Kernels take a step backward in weekend losses

The Mitchell High School boys basketball head coach Todd Neuendorf said "it was not a good weekend" for his team after it dropped games to Rapid City Central and Rapid City Stevens on Friday and Saturday.

Mitchell High School's Ben Helleloid tries to break Rapid City Stevens' press while Daniel Vigoren guards him on Saturday at the Corn Palace. (Jeremy Karll / Republic)

The Mitchell High School boys basketball head coach Todd Neuendorf said "it was not a good weekend" for his team after it dropped games to Rapid City Central and Rapid City Stevens on Friday and Saturday.

The Kernels struggled mightily in an 18-point loss to RCC on Friday and then fell to RCS the following afternoon, 73-46.

An inability to put points on the board has plagued Mitchell for quite some time, but it has become a trend three games into the season and reared its head during the weekend. The Kernels have yet to break the 50-point mark this season and only did so three times last year.

Mitchell was only able to score 13 points in the paint against Stevens on Saturday, and the struggles have often been self-inflicted. Opponents are averaging 57 field goals per game, compared to 42 for the Kernels, who shot 34.9 percent in the two games. Neuendorf attributes that to a lack of offensive rebounding and a total of 38 turnovers in the last two games.

"We dribble ourselves into trouble and when we dribble, we don't go anywhere," Neuendorf said. "That's got to change, and right now, teams don't respect our inside because we're not getting enough done. They just spread us out to the perimeter and they're not respecting our inside because we're struggling to score on the inside."


Being diligent on defense

Mitchell also dealt with defensive woes in its two games against the Rapid City schools, allowing them to shoot 49.5 percent from the field.

Central scored on 80 percent of its field goals in the first half on Friday, due to problems guarding in pick-and-roll situations, while the help-side defense was a step slow in rotating on entries into the post.

On Saturday, the problems stemmed from on-ball defense. Stevens ball handlers were able to drive past Kernel defenders, and when the defense rotated to stop the ball, it left open shooters on the perimeter. Neuendorf feels like both issues are correctable through a more diligent effort on defense.

"We don't commit to playing defense," Neuendorf said. "...We're not going to play zone or anything like that, we're going to ask these guys to commit to playing defense. We'll get a group that will play defense. If we have to move some guys around-we're going to make this thing work."

The light is turning on for Hinker

Freshman Caden Hinker has been a bright spot for Mitchell on offense thus far, scoring in double-figures in each of the three games this season.

The 6-foot-6 forward scored 13 points against Central and then recorded his second double-double of the season in the loss to Stevens, putting in a team-high 15 points and pulling down 10 rebounds.


"For a freshman, he's doing a nice job," Neuendorf said of Hinker. "Ben Helleloid coming in off the bench as a point guard for us is handling himself very well. He's not scoring, but he's getting some stuff done, just coming in and organizing us. I think we play hard, but we wouldn't have to play hard if we would just do things the right way."

Mitchell (0-3) is back on the court Thursday at 7 p.m. against Brandon Valley, which Neuendorf believes may end up being the state champion in Class AA.

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