Late basket from Dylan Soulek helps Mitchell boys basketball pick up Senior Night win over O'Gorman
Soulek’s shot marked the third lead change in the final 20 seconds.
MITCHELL — If you ask Mitchell boys basketball coach Ryker Kreutzfeldt, there’s karma in basketball.
It can be both good or bad, but in Class AA No. 4-ranked Mitchell’s 71-70 win over Sioux Falls O’Gorman on Friday at the Corn Palace, senior Dylan Soulek was in the graces of the good karma.
On Senior Night he came off the bench, a move he told his coach he was OK with so the other five seniors could start. And with his team down one in the waning seconds of the game, Soulek finished a contested layup — the eventual game-winning basket.
Another clutch shot. This time it’s Soulek who gives the Kernels the lead back with 4.1 seconds left. Mitchell up 71-70, O’Gorman ball #sdpreps pic.twitter.com/qhEq3MPUvS— Mitchell Republic Sports (@MDR_Sports) February 25, 2023
“(Soulek) was like, ‘Put me on the bench and start those other guys,’” Kreutzfeldt said Soulek told him. “He had a lot of good karma coming into tonight because that’s the type of kid he is. He’s a great leader, a great teammate, and we’re going to miss him, but we’re lucky to have him right now.”
Soulek’s shot, which he hit with 4.1 seconds to go, marked the third lead change in the final 20 seconds. Markus Talley gave Mitchell a 69-68 lead with 19 seconds left before O’Gorman’s Radley Mauney raced down the floor after the ensuing inbound pass and connected on a layup to give the Knights the lead back with 11.5 seconds remaining.
Madness at the Palace. Markus Talley hits a 3-pointer to put Mitchell up but Radley Mauney races down the floor for a layup to give O’Gorman the lead back. It’s 70-69 O’Gorman with 11.5 seconds left, Mitchell ball #sdpreps pic.twitter.com/2jn5unIQpc— Mitchell Republic Sports (@MDR_Sports) February 25, 2023
“We have some seniors that just don’t allow us to lose sometimes, and I thought that’s what happened tonight,” Kreutzfeldt said. “Dylan (Soulek) and Steele (Morgan) made huge plays down the stretch. Markus (Talley) hit a big-time 3. When it felt like it was going the other way, our guys made plays, and they’ve done that continually throughout the year.”
Morgan and Soulek led the Kernels with 18 and 17 points, respectively, while Colton Smith added 14 and Talley chipped in 11.
For O’Gorman, only Matthew Eng was in double figures. But the senior, who cracked 1,000 career points for the Knights on Friday, did much of the heavy lifting on offense. He finished with 32 points, 19 of which came in the second half.
Eng, who went 8-for-13 from 3-point range, helped bring O’Gorman back into the game after the Kernels had built a 10-point lead in the early stages of the fourth quarter. But when the Knights inbounded the ball down one with 4.1 seconds on the clock, Mitchell prevented the ball from getting into the hands of Eng for one last shot.
“I feel bad for our assistants, because I was screaming at them, ‘What do we do?' Like, ‘How do we stop him?’ And there was no answer,” Kreutzfeldt said. “It was coach Morgan who said, ‘We just got to toughen up.’ And I thought we did down the stretch. We got the stop when we needed to. But that kid is unbelievable.”
The rest of O’Gorman (7-13) went 2-for-10 from 3-point range, but the Knights shot 26-for-50 (52%) from the floor. Mitchell went 25-for-49 (51%) from the field and connected on nine of its 20 3-point tries.
The Kernels improved to 15-4 with the win and wrap up their regular season Saturday, Feb. 25, on the road against Brandon Valley in a makeup game that was originally scheduled for Tuesday, Feb. 21. From there, Mitchell will host a SoDak 16 game on Saturday, March 4.
“They've learned from experience. These guys have been there before. That's the nice thing about having a senior-laden group is they've been in every situation,” Kreutzfeldt said of Friday’s win. “Once you start to doubt this group, they prove you wrong. And they did it again (Friday night.)”