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No. 4 Patriots hand Mitchell girls 22-point loss

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Mitchell's Macy Kempf (33) fights her way to the basket through the defense of Sioux Falls Lincoln's Emma Osmundson, left, and Sioux Falls Lincoln's Jaydyn Fikse during a game on Tuesday at the Corn Palace. (Matt Gade / Republic)

After a second straight double-digit loss, Mitchell coach Cole Knippling believes his team needs to focus on the little things to close the gap.

Even in a 64-42 loss to Class AA No. 4 Sioux Falls Lincoln on Tuesday at the Corn Palace, the Kernel girls coach is fixated on creating an extra stop and score in each quarter. It didn’t come to fruition against the Patriots, as the Kernels dropped their fourth game in five contests.

“I think even when you lose by a lot of points, it’s a lot of little things,” Knippling said. “One more stop or one more score per quarter, that's like a 16-18 point difference. We need to keep trying to focus on the little things. How could we have gotten one more stop? How could we have gotten one more score?”

Many of Mitchell’s (3-6) struggles on both ends of the floor stemmed from a common culprit -- turnovers. The Patriots’ (5-2) size and ball pressure forced 19 turnovers, leading to fastbreak layups and not allowing Mitchell to set up its zone defense.

It sparked Lincoln’s 17-0 run between the first and second quarters, which turned Mitchell’s 9-6 lead into a 23-9 deficit. Emma Osmundson led the charge with four steals to go with 11 points.

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“I think the problems with our turnovers is a lot of them are by our guards,” Knippling said. “Our guards have to take care of the ball. They have to be smart, they have to be strong.”

Lincoln burst out to a 16-point halftime lead. Knippling didn’t point to another large halftime deficit as deflating, though, rather the Kernels’ inability to score.

They were aggressive attacking the basket, but were disrupted by a mixture of Lincoln’s press and dual 6-foot-1 players in Morgan Hansen and Jaydyn Fikse. Mitchell shot 34.3 percent from the field and were held scoreless for the first four minutes of each the second and third quarters. After the break, it stringed together stops, but couldn’t mount a comeback.

“I thought on the perimeter we were strong at times,” Knippling said. “But trying to dribble out of places when we should have been passing out of places.”

Macy Kempf, who scored a team-high 16 points, made the first field goal of the second quarter for the Kernels at the 3:31 mark. In the third, Avia Haley hit one of her three 3-pointers with four minutes left to break their second-half slump.

Their production was matched by Lincoln’s bigs finding holes in Mitchell’s zone. Fikse scored 10 of her game-high 22 points in the fourth quarter, including a layup to give Lincoln its largest lead (29). Hansen also added 11 points, with the Patriots shooting 48.1 percent.

Mitchell cut the deficit to 17 points in the fourth against Lincoln’s all-bench lineup, highlighted by it shooting 8-for-9 from the free-throw line down the stretch to cap a 15-for-16 performance.

“I still think we’re trying to (have) all five of us offensively work together to make easy offense,” Knippling said. “We’re working way too hard. We’re not using each other. We need to get more assists.”

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Mitchell travels to Watertown on Friday.

Sioux Falls Lincoln 64, Mitchell 42

Sioux Falls Lincoln (5-2): Morgan Hansen 5-9 0-0 11, Emma Osmundson 5-10 0-1 11, Mya Wilson 0-1 0-0 0, Brooke Brown 1-4 0-0 2, Jaydyn Fikse 8-11 6-6 22, Cheyenne Miller 3-5 0- 9, Brooke Lindsay 2-3 0-0 5, Valerie Higgins 1-4 0-0 2, Sydney Huber 1-5 0-0 2, Kate Amundso 0-1 0-0 0, Kaia Jensen 0-0 0-0 0, Alicen Honner 0-1 0-0 0. Team totals: 26-54 6-7 64.

Mitchell (3-6): Adaya Plastow 0-3 5-6 5, Avia Haley 3-8 0-0 9, Camryn Krogman 1-4 0-0 2, Haley hohn 1-3 1-1 3, Macy Kempf 5-11 6-6 16, Atlanta Stahle 0-1 0-0 0, Taylor Giblin 0-1 2-2 2, Kelsey Dahme 0-0 0-0 0, Ella Flippin 0-0 0-0 0, Sarah Sebert 1-2 0-0 2, Brooke Brewster 0-0 0-0 0, Gia Winger 1-2 1-1 3, Mariyah Turner 0-0 0-0 0, Halle Mickelson 0-0 0-0 0. Team totals: 12-35 15-16 42.

SFL 15 31 45 64

MHS 9 15 22 42

3-pointers: SFL 6-16 (Miller 3-3, Hansen 1-1, Osmundson 1-5, Lindsay 1-2, Wilson 0-1, Brown 0-2, Huber 0-1); MHS 3-9 (Haley 3-7, Plastow 0-1, Kempf 0-1). Rebounds: SFL 25 (Hansen 4); MHS 28 (Plastow 3, Kempf 3). Assists: SFL 2; MHS 2. Blocked shots: SFL 1, MHS 0. Steals: SFL 10 (Osmundson 4); MHS 7 (Krogman 2). Turnovers: SFL 15, MHS 19. Total fouls: SFL 15; MHS 11.

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