Composed second half led by Kody Klumb carries Ethan to SoDak 16 win over Gregory at the Palace

Klumb erupted for 26 points after the break, as the Rustlers limited the Gorillas to 15 points in the second half to secure Ethan's first state tournament bid since 2014.

Ethan's Kody Klumb (2) puts up a layup attempt in front of two Gregory defenders during a Class B SoDak 16 boys basketball game on Tuesday, March 7, 2023, at the Corn Palace.
Landon Dierks / Mitchell Republic

MITCHELL — In a battle of experience versus youth, the veterans won out on Tuesday night at the Corn Palace.

Though trailing at halftime, seventh-seeded Ethan never looked rattled, eventually putting on a second-half surge to down 10th-seeded Gregory, 52-37, in a Class B SoDak 16 contest. It improved Ethan to 20-3, securing their place in next week’s state tournament in Aberdeen.

“We knew it was going to be a dogfight with (seeds) 7 and 10 going at it,” said senior guard Kody Klumb. “We just knew we couldn’t get too low in the lows or too high in the highs.”

“It wasn’t just tonight but the entire season,” added Ethan coach Bryce Roth said on experience carrying the day. “These guys know to trust the process and be fundamentally sound and it’ll pay off.”

In Gregory coach Jeff Determan’s view, the Rustlers’ veteran edge — they have six seniors and four juniors, while Gregory has one upperclassman, a junior — wasn’t limited to a mental component, but was felt by the Gorillas, as well.


“They have older guys and you could kind of tell a difference in bodies,” Determan said. “We’re young and I think we’ll get there, but you could tell a difference in physicality and trying to attack it.”

Early on, Gregory was more than holding its own, getting out to an 8-1 start in a 13-7 first quarter that featured 11 points from standout forward Daniel Mitchell. The Gorillas led by as many as seven points early in the second quarter and held a 22-18 edge at halftime.

But the Kody Klumb that came out of the locker room was much different than the one that entered only moments before.

Ethan's Riley Endres (11) flips up a scoop layup attempt from between several Gregory defenders in the lane during a Class B SoDak 16 boys basketball game on Tuesday, March 7, 2023, at the Corn Palace.
Landon Dierks / Mitchell Republic

With the score knotted at 27-all early in the third quarter, Klumb, who battled foul trouble in the first half, hit the second of four third-quarter 3s to give the Rustlers their first lead of the night. By the end of the frame, it was 38-31 Ethan.

“At halftime, I was feeling kind of down but assistant coach (Reed) Harter came over to me and said, ‘We’re going to need you,’” Klumb said. “I made the first two to get going and came to realize I just needed to keep shooting.”

It didn’t stop there, as Klumb added two more triples in the fourth to run his total to 26 points for the night, all in the second half.

“It’s fun to see a senior step up who knows he’s feeling hot and feels like the hoop is as big as the ocean,” Roth said. “And then everyone stepped up defensively to win it on the other end.”

At the same time, the Rustlers were tightening the screws defensively, limiting Gregory to 15 points after halftime, including four points for Mitchell after his initial outburst.


“Really, the difference was we needed Taite (Klumb) to play a little closer and more physical, and that’s what he did,” Roth said. “Taite Klumb played absolutely fantastic on defense and he’s going to hear it in the locker room. It’s the best I’ve ever seen from him.”

Gregory's Daniel Mitchell (23) handles the ball under pressure from an Ethan defender during a Class B SoDak 16 boys basketball game on Tuesday, March 7, 2023, at the Corn Palace.
Landon Dierks / Mitchell Republic

“I’m proud of the effort. We executed our game plan pretty well,” Determan said from the other side. “We just didn’t have the answer offensively (in the second half). They made it tough on us and we went a little cold.”

Alongside Kody Klumb’s second-half explosion, Riley Endres dropped in 13 points and Wyatt Sinkie chipped in seven for Ethan.

For Gregory (16-7), Mitchell’s 15 points led the way, with Noah Bearshield adding seven and Cole Serr contributing five.

Ethan's state tournament matchup hinges on the postponed Faith-Northwestern game, which will be played Thursday. If the No. 4 seeded Longhorns win, Ethan will match up with No. 2 Aberdeen Christian in the state quarterfinals on Thursday, March 16. If Northwestern pulls the upset, Ethan moves up a seed and plays De Smet in the first round at state.

Dierks covers prep and collegiate athletics across the Mitchell Republic's coverage region area, focusing on Mitchell High School football and boys basketball and area high school football, volleyball and basketball, as well as Dakota Wesleyan women's basketball. He was also the lead on the Mitchell Republic Gridiron Spotlight, producing video and providing live play-by-play for the traveling weekly prep football broadcast during its first season in the fall of 2021. Dierks is a Mitchell native who graduated from South Dakota State University with his bachelor's degree in journalism in May 2020. He joined the Mitchell Republic sports staff in August 2021. He can be reached at and found on Twitter at @LDierksy.
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