Mitchell boys start fast, finish strong to down Yankton
No. 5 Mitchell bounced back from a home defeat earlier in the week to defeat Yankton at the Corn Palace.
MITCHELL — Powered by 20-plus points in the first and fourth quarters, the Mitchell High School boys basketball team picked up a much-needed win on Friday night.
The Kernels led wire-to-wire, picking up a 69-55 win over Yankton in an Eastern South Dakota Conference contest at the Corn Palace.
“Being able to get a punch back at them tonight was a really good feeling,” said junior Dylan Soulek. “And Yankton always brings a lot of people, so it’s a lot of fun and a great atmosphere.”
Part of Mitchell's success can be credited to improved shooting from their Tuesday night loss to Harrisburg . In that contest, the Kernels shot 34.5%, but they managed a 50% mark against the Bucks.
Steele Morgan sparked a quick start for Mitchell, as the junior forward scored 10 points in the opening eight minutes to help the Kernels to a 22-14 advantage. As a team, the Kernels made five 3-point field goals in the first quarter — a welcome sight after a poor shooting performance against Harrisburg on Tuesday.
The Kernels built on their lead by scoring nine of the final 10 points of the half, punctuated by a Charlie McCardle layup off a Caden Hinker assist.
“It was huge for us and a big confidence booster, ” Soulek said of the first-half offensive effort. ”We were up 17 after the first half and only had 12 points in the paint. That tells you something about how we shot the ball confidently.”
Yankton came out of the locker room with a renewed defensive intensity, which helped the Bucks creep back into the contest. A Dylan Prouty three-point play brought the Bucks within 45-37 with 90 seconds to go in the third quarter, but Hinker responded with back-to-back dunks to close the quarter, restoring a double-digit advantage for Mitchell.
The Bucks continued to extend their comeback bid, cutting the Kernel lead back to single digits early in the fourth quarter and keeping it there for much of the period, timely shot making and free-throw shooting allowed Mitchell to comfortably close out its conference rival.
“It was a big one. We never want to lose two in a row,“ Kreutzfeldt said. “... I think we grew up a little bit tonight.”
Hinker led all scorers with 22 points, adding 11 rebounds and four assists, as Soulek (15), Morgan (14) and McCardle (10) joined Hinker in double figures. Soulek also recorded four rebounds and four assists, while Morgan and McCardle chipped in seven and five rebounds, respectively.
Yankton (4-2, 2-1 ESD) was led by 15 points from Prouty, with Jaden Kral and Cody Oswald contributing 13 and 11 points, respectively. Oswald also led the Bucks in rebounds with six.
Mitchell (5-2, 4-1 ESD) is on the road Tuesday, Jan. 11, for a girls-boys doubleheader at Huron.