Mitchell boys come up short against Thunder Basin in Hoop City Classic
Thunder Basin used 20-6 second quarter surge to gain a lead it would never surrender on Tuesday night.
Ball movement had helped the Mitchell High School boys basketball team win three-straight games to start its season, but on Tuesday night, the ball was stuck.
Playing its second contest in eight hours, Thunder Basin, a program from Gillette, Wyoming, knocked off the Kernels, 61-53, on the strength of its defense and a strong second-quarter showing in the Hoop City Classic at the Corn Palace.
For having played a hotly contested game earlier on Tuesday afternoon, a narrow 48-46 loss to First Assembly Christian (Tenn.), the Bolts hardly looked like a side in need of energy.
“We hoped they'd be a little fatigued, but they were not at all,” said Mitchell coach Ryker Kreutzfeldt of his team's opposition. “Truthfully, they played harder than us.”
Thunder Basin, the top-ranked team in Wyoming's 4A division, did jump on the Kernels early, but a 13-0 run through the middle and late stages of the first quarter boosted Mitchell to a 17-12 advantage after eight minutes.
But the second quarter went definitively in the Bolts’ favor. A buzzer-beating 3-pointer by guard Deegan Williams punctuated a period in which Thunder Basin outscored the Hoop City hosts 20-6 to take a nine-point lead into the locker room.
The second half was a story of the Bolts maintaining their advantage, which they did with aplomb despite the Kernels’ efforts.
“We left some points out there, I believe,” Kreutzfeldt said.
Pairs of Hinker free throws brought Mitchell within six points twice more late through the final frame, but Thunder Basin remained composed and offered an answer for each mini-surge to put the game out of reach.
“I thought they just executed better than us,” Kreutzfeldt said. “We got into half court motion and weren’t doing a good job moving without the basketball or screening — things that, when we look good, that’s what we’re doing.”
Hinker’s 18 points and 11 rebounds paced the Kernels, as Steele Morgan added 14 points and five rebounds and Gavyn Degen chipped in eight points.
Ethan Cox matched Hinker with 18 points for the Bolts, as Williams and Kayden LaFramboise added 15 and 13 points, respectively. The Bolts continue a run of four Hoop City Classic games in three days with a matchup against Houston (Tenn.) Wednesday afternoon at the Sanford Pentagon in Sioux Falls.
Mitchell hosts Campbell County (Wyo.) in its second and final Hoop City Classic contest at 4:30 p.m. Wednesday at the Corn Palace.