Mitchell girls basketball slated for Brandon Valley rematch in Class AA SoDak 16

After losing to Brandon Valley, 55-33, in the regular-season finale Saturday, Mitchell heads back to Brandon for a rematch with the Lynx in the SoDak 16 on Friday.

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Mitchell's Sawyer Stoebner drives to the basket as she's guarded by Harrisburg's Hannah Eide during a high school girls basketball game on Tuesday, Jan. 24, 2023, at the Corn Palace.
Zech Lambert / Mitchell Republic

MITCHELL — The Class AA SoDak 16 will feature a familiar foe for the Mitchell girls basketball team.

After losing to Brandon Valley, 55-33, in the regular-season finale Saturday, Mitchell heads back to Brandon for a rematch with the Lynx in the SoDak 16 on Friday.

The 22-point loss was Mitchell’s worst of the season and the 33 points marked the second-lowest point total the Kernels scored all year. It wasn’t until late in the second quarter that the Lynx pulled away, though, as Mitchell held a one-point lead after the first quarter and trailed 19-18 late in the second quarter.

“I think confidence-wise, it’s good for the kids to know that we’ll have to play well for 32 minutes … but knowing it’s a team we can hang with,” head coach Dave Brooks said. “The longer a game like this goes and you’re close, I think the more the pressure falls on their shooters than it does on us.”

The Lynx, which are the No. 5 seed in Class AA, have won nine-straight contests and didn’t lose in the month of February, finishing the season at 15-5. Mitchell, on the other hand, has lost its last six games, dropping to the No. 12 seed.


During Mitchell’s losing streak, though, the Kernels have faced some of the stiffest competition in Class AA, going up against the top-three teams in the class in Sioux Falls Washington, Pierre and Sioux Falls O’Gorman, as well as Brandon Valley, which is fifth.

Led by South Dakota State signee Hilary Behrens, who poured in 22 points against Mitchell, Brandon Valley sits at No. 5 in Class AA in points per game, averaging 51.6 points per contest. On the defensive side of the ball, the Lynx are eighth in the class allowing 45.8 points per game.

The Lynx held Mitchell to 20.8% (11 for 53) shooting from the floor and forced 20 Kernel turnovers in the regular-season matchup, extending their 2-3 zone and pressuring the ball past the 3-point line.

“At the end of the day, we've got to make some shots,” Brooks said, adding that the Kernels may need to start their offense farther away from where they usually do. “We've got to be close to 50 points to be in the game.”

Mitchell is 10th in Class AA in scoring at 45.4 points per game, led by 14.1 points from Sawyer Stoebner and 10.4 points from Addie Siemsen. Stoebner also averaged a double-double this season, coming down with 11 rebounds per game while posting a 13-point, 11-rebound double-double effort against Brandon Valley last game.

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“If there’s a scrum and they’re going up, it seems like she always comes down with two hands on it — not just one hand and tip it — she goes up and grabs it,” coach Dave Brooks said.

Defensively, though, Mitchell is 13th in Class AA, surrendering 48.1 points per game.

The winner of Mitchell and Brandon Valley’s game will advance to the state tournament to play the winner of Sioux Falls Jefferson and Aberdeen Central in the first round on March 9 at the Sanford Pentagon in Sioux Falls.

It figures to be a tall task for Mitchell, which goes in as an underdog in the first round given the recent loss. Since the addition of the SoDak 16 format in 2018, no seed lower than No. 11 has made it to the state tournament (Harrisburg pulled off the feat last year, taking down Huron in the SoDak 16).


“I told (the team) take the No. 5 and the No. 12 away from us, we’re the Mitchell Kernels playing the Brandon Valley Lynx,” Brooks said of his message to the team. “Let’s just go play the game and forget we’re the underdog or we’re not supposed to win because they’re the higher seed. ... We're not going in there thinking, 'We're the lower seed, probably not a chance.'”

Zech Lambert is a sports reporter for the Mitchell Republic. He graduated from Penn State University in May 2022 and began at the Mitchell Republic in July 2022. He can be reached at or on Twitter @Zech_Lambert.
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