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Kernels girls roll past Sturgis behind Sawyer Stoebner’s 24-point performance

Mitchell outscored Sturgis 16-3 in the second quarter and forced the Scoopers to commit 18 turnovers.

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Mitchell's Sawyer Stoebner goes up for a layup in front of Sturgis' Taylor Price (3) during a game on Friday, January 21, 2022 at the Corn Palace.
Matt Gade/Mitchell Republic
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MITCHELL – The Mitchell High School girls basketball team won two consecutive games for the first time this season.

The Kernels (3-6) made a 16-3 run in the second quarter to help beat Sturgis 56-38 at the Corn Palace on Friday night.

The team shot 41 percent from the field and forced Sturgis to commit 18 turnovers, but was led by Sawyer Stoebner’s all-around game of 24 points, six rebounds, five assists and three steals. It was Stoebner’s second 20-point and five rebound performance of the season.

“I was really proud of Sawyer tonight, she did a great job of getting to the rim,” Mitchell head coach Cole Knippling said. “She got herself going early, got a couple steals and turned the corner early. She always was hunting out the rim, she didn’t settle.”

Stoebner indeed got herself going early in the game, scoring two left-handed layups within the first minute of the game for the Kernels. Stoebner was responsible for 11 of the team’s 18 first quarter points as she made four layups and had one cross-court assist to Sarah Sebert in the corner for a 3-pointer.

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She kept pace in the second quarter as well. On the first possession of the second quarter, she had a steal on the defensive end, which resulted in another 3-pointer for Sebert. Stoebner went 6-for-9 from the field in the first half, along with three steals and three rebounds.

“Sawyer’s vision is just improving with every game,” Knippling said. “She found Sarah for a couple of early three’s and you can tell she’s starting to feel more comfortable in that point guard role. She did a great job and she looked like a big time player tonight.”

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Mitchell's Sawyer Stoebner goes to the basket past a Sturgis defender during a game on Friday, January 21, 2022 at the Corn Palace.
Matt Gade/Mitchell Republic

Stoebner and Sebert combined for 24 of the team’s 34 first half points, along with six steals. Sebert went a perfect 3-for-3 from 3-point range, all assisted by Stoebner.

At the start of the second half, Sturgis went on an early 11-0 run in the first two and a half minutes of the third quarter. During that run, Mitchell committed five turnovers and the Scoopers managed to cut the lead to five. It wasn’t until a Stoebner free throw with 3:57 left in the third quarter ended the Kernels four minute drought of no points.

“For whatever reason, this stuff continues to happen,” Knippling said. “We took a chance and we let them hit that first shot. Any time you let a team score on that first possession, it kind of gives them a jolt. We turned it over as well and got a little careless, but what was better this time is that we responded and won the rest of the quarter.”

After making the first free throw and missing the second, Stoebner managed to get her own rebound and get an easy layup to put the Kernels back up seven. Stoebner would go on to score two more layups of her own and have back-to-back assists to Addie Siemsen for a layup and a 3-pointer to extend the lead back to 16.

Mitchell would go on to take its largest lead of the evening of 23 with 4:26 remaining in the fourth quarter to cruise to its third win of the season.

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The Kernels bench celebrates a basket during a game against Sturgis on Friday, January 21, 2022 at the Corn Palace.
Matt Gade/Mitchell Republic

Sebert finished with 13 points and a team-high four steals. Taylor Giblin and Kaitlyn Christensen added six points each while Addie Siemsen chipped in with five points.

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Tatum Ligtenberg led Sturgis with 13 points, three rebounds and two steals. Reese Ludwick had six points and a game-high seven rebounds while Lexi Long had six points as well.

Mitchell will host Spearfish on Saturday at 1:30 p.m. at Mitchell Christian. Sturgis travels to Huron on Saturday at 1:30 p.m. in the Huron Arena.

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 bhull@mitchellrepublic.com and found on Twitter at @bhullreports.
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