Kernel girls defend home-court, squeak by Roosevelt for seventh-straight win

Mitchell made nine free throws in the fourth quarter to secure the win.

Mitchell's Sawyer Stoebner shoots around Sioux Falls Roosevelt's Katie Spicer during a game on Thursday, February 3, 2022 at the Corn Palace.
Matt Gade/Mitchell Republic

MITCHELL – In its ninth game of the season decided by six points or fewer, the Mitchell High School girls basketball team came out victorious again in a 51-48 win over Sioux Falls Roosevelt on Thursday at the Corn Palace.

The Kernels (8-6) and the Rough Riders both struggled in the first half before combining to score 44 points in the third quarter. Mitchell outlasted Roosevelt in the fourth quarter, making nine of its 16 points at the free throw line.

Mitchell has now won seven-straight games, the second longest streak in the Cole Knippling coaching era.

“We made a lot of winning plays and did a good job pounding the ball down low,” Knippling said. “I thought that are play around the rim and us playing so aggressively, earned us more trips to the free throw line. We made just enough free throws and we had some big deflections at the end.”

Both teams struggled in the first half before exploding for some of their best scoring performances in the third quarter. Mitchell only scored seven points in the first quarter while Roosevelt shot 1-for-13 from the field and 0-of-8 from 3-point range to only score two points.


Mitchell scored eight points in the second quarter to Roosevelt’s 10 to take a 15-12 lead into halftime. Roosevelt missed its five 3-pointers in the second quarter, starting the game 0-for-13 from behind the arc. Mitchell was also struggling from the outside, starting the game 0-of-8 from three.

At the start of the second half, the game completely took a turn. Roosevelt started the third quarter on a 8-2 run, led with back-to-back jump hooks in the lane by Aubrey Baker, to give the Rough Riders their first lead of the game at 18-17.

Roosevelt (1-12) would extend the lead to five, their largest of the game, before the Kernels responded with a run of their own. Sophomore Sawyer Stoebner scored 10 of the team’s 20 points in the third quarter to keep Mitchell afloat throughout the surge from the visiting Rough Riders. Roosevelt shot less than 25 percent from the field in the first half, but managed to make nine of its 12 field goal attempts in the third quarter.

“Both of us played on Tuesday and sometimes that can create some slower, sluggish starts,” Knippling said. “A one day turn around is a little tough and I think that was part of it. … We finally got our legs under us and I’m proud that we could hang with them. I don’t like that we gave up 20, but I like when we score 20.”

Mitchell's Kaitlyn Christensen is fouled by Sioux Falls Roosevelt's Katie Spicer during a game on Thursday, February 3, 2022 at the Corn Palace.
Matt Gade/Mitchell Republic

After a high-scoring third quarter for both teams, defense became much tighter in the fourth. The Kernels remained poised through the full-court pressure and Stoebner got to the free throw line on Mitchell’s first four possessions.

She made four of her seven free throw attempts in the fourth quarter. Lauren Van Overschelde also made two big free throws in the fourth, her only points of the game, to make it a two-possession game. After a deflection by Stoebner on Roosevelt’s final possession, Sarah Sebert went to the line and nailed two free throws with less than five seconds remaining to seal the win.

“I was reminding my teammates we need to keep working hard because I knew it was going to come,” Stoebner said. “Our time was going to come and it was all going to fall together. We just had to remain confident.”

Mitchell's Taylor Giblin claps on the Kernels after a basket during a game against Sioux Falls Roosevelt on Thursday, February 3, 2022 at the Corn Palace.
Matt Gade/Mitchell Republic

Stoebner finished with 24 points, 10 rebounds and three steals. Kaitlyn Christensen had nine points, seven rebounds and seven assists while Sebert and Taylor Giblin had eight points each.


Mitchell made 19 of its 32 free throw attempts to win its fifth game of the season at the Corn Palace.

For Roosevelt, senior Kaela Martinez made three 3-pointers to finish with a team-high 20 points. Katie Spicer had 13 points and Aubrey Baker had 11 points.

The Kernels travel to Aberdeen Central on Feb. 8, in an attempt to win their eighth-straight game.

Mitchell 51, Sioux Falls Roosevelt 48

Mitchell (8-6): Sawyer Stoebner 7-15 10-15 24, Kaitlyn Christensen 3-6 3-3 9, Taylor Giblin 3-12 1-4 8, Sarah Sebert 2-6 3-8 8, Lauren Van Overschelde 0-10 2-2 2, Addie Siemsen 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 15-50 19-32 51.

MHS 7 15 35 51

SFR 2 12 34 48

3-point field goals: M: 2-19 (Sebert 1-4, Giblin 1-6, Siemsen 0-1, Stoebner 0-1, Van Overschelde 0-7). Rebounds: M: 28 (Stoebner 10). Assists: M: 12 (Christensen 7). Steals: M: 11 (Stoebner 3, Sebert 3). Blocks: M: 0. Turnovers: M: 11.

Branden is a sports reporter that graduated from Purdue University Northwest with a bachelor's degree in communications and a focus in journalism. He joined the Mitchell Republic in June 2021 and covers prep and collegiate athletics. He was also the lead on the Mitchell Republic Full-Court Press, providing a weekly web-exclusive look at high school basketball throughout all of South Dakota. Branden can be reached at and found on Twitter at @bhullreports.
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