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Pierre knocks off Mitchell boys with late rally

PIERRE--It was theirs. Mitchell's boys had control of the District 3AA championship game, and the automatic berth to the Class AA tournament. And then Pierre snatched it away. The Kernels watched their 48-40 fourth-quarter lead disappear, then sa...

Mitchell's Connor Morgan rises up with a second-quarter jumper Friday during the District 3AA championship game. Morgan scored 16, but the Governors won, 62-55, to advance to state. (Gidal Kaiser/Pierre Capital Journal)
Mitchell's Connor Morgan rises up with a second-quarter jumper Friday during the District 3AA championship game. Morgan scored 16, but the Governors won, 62-55, to advance to state. (Gidal Kaiser/Pierre Capital Journal)

PIERRE-It was theirs.

Mitchell's boys had control of the District 3AA championship game, and the automatic berth to the Class AA tournament.

And then Pierre snatched it away.

The Kernels watched their 48-40 fourth-quarter lead disappear, then saw the Governors close the contest on a 9-0 run for a 62-55 victory and their second consecutive 3AA championship.

Mitchell (5-17) will face Rapid City Central (5-17) at 7 p.m. Tuesday for an AA tournament berth.

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"Congrats to the Governors," MHS head coach Erik Skoglund said. "They came and snatched victory from us in the fourth quarter."

The Kernels had another upset close at hand, leading the title-game hosts 48-40 on Connor Morgan's two free throws with 6 minutes, 42 seconds remaining. Then Pierre, which struggled to generate offense in bunches and shot 32 percent for the game, stirred.

Senior guard Erin Severyn split two pairs of free throws in 12 seconds, with a Peyton Zabel offensive rebound accounting for the extra trip. Zabel collected his third block of the night, and Govs senior center Brevin Kaiser dropped in a layup with just under four minutes to play.

Mitchell scored on two of its next three possessions for five points, but Pierre hit three consecutive 3-pointers - including two by the 6-foot-5 Kaiser - to even the contest at 53.

Jed Schmidt gave the visitors a two-point edge on foul shots with 1:38 left.

Kaiser answered with two of his own 15 seconds later, and the momentum and game was the home team's. Zabel earned another block, Kaiser sank 1-of-2 foul shots, and then he jumped for a defensive rebound of a missed 3 with a minute left.

Later, Bradley Dean scored on a layup.

Kaiser put the icing on the cake with a steal and dunk to bring a capacity crowd to its feet for a 60-55 score with 13 seconds remaining.

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Severyn's steal led to him sinking a pair of foul shots and the final score.

"Their ball pressure was key," Skoglund said. "We couldn't get to our back doors, we couldn't get to our spacing. They came and made the plays down the stretch.

"We're going to look back at all the things we could have done with our poise and attitude we demonstrated Tuesday and didn't have it tonight in the fourth quarter."

The Kernels used a 6-2 spurt, to close the first half leading 26-25. Schmidt's 3 brought it to 29-25, and it reached 35-29 on another six-point run during the third.

Later, Skoglund's crew stretched it to 46-37 on Wyatt Smith's layup early in the fourth, then 48-40 on Morgan's free throws.

Pierre's Kaiser (28) and Severyn (21) combined for 49.

Morgan scored 16 to lead Mitchell, while Schmidt added 15, five rebounds and a block. The Kernels blocked five shots-Smith led with a pair, to go with 10 points and seven rebounds.

M 10 26 44 55

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P 11 25 37 62
Mitchell (5-17)

Jed Schmidt 5-11 2-2 15 Connor Morgan 6-17 2-3 16 Elijah Pommer 1-4 1-2 3 Carter Cavanaugh 1-3 0-0 2 Gray Determan 2-7 2-2 7 Mitch Price 0-1 2-2 2 Wyatt Smith 4-5 2-3 10 TOTALS 19-48 11-14 55

Pierre (15-7)

Erin Severyn 6-15 6-9 21 Brad Dean 2-10 1-2 6 Hunter Jockheck 0-1 2-2 2 Trey Livermont 0-6 1-2 1 Peyton Zabel 1-3 0-0 2 1-2 0-0 2 Brevin Kaiser 9-22 8-12 28 TOTALS 19-59 18-27

3-point goals: M 6-15 (Schmidt 3, Morgan 2, Determan), P 6-17 (Severyn 3, Kaiser 2, Dean); Assists: M 5 (Price 2), P 8 (Severyn 3); Rebounds: M 26 (Determan 9), P 25 (Kaiser 8); Turnovers: M 15, P 8; Fouls: M 23, P 18

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