No. 3 Kernel boys held to season-low scoring output in home loss to Sioux Falls Washington

Tuesday marked Mitchell's season lows in points and field goal percentage, with the Kernels managing 34.8% from the field and committing a season-high 19 turnovers.

Mitchell's Charlie McCardle (35) attempts to keep the ball away from Sioux Falls Washington's Mandalla Mohamed (4) and Gage Gasca (34) during a Class AA boys basketball game on Tuesday, Feb. 14, 2023, at the Corn Palace.
Adam Thury / Mitchell Republic

MITCHELL — After taking a staggering early blow from Sioux Falls Washington, the Mitchell High School boys basketball team recovered, but it wasn't quite enough.

The result was a comeback attempt that came up just short, as the third-ranked Kernels fell at home for the first time this season in a 47-42 setback to the Warriors on Tuesday night at the Corn Palace.

It was a season-low for Mitchell in points (previously 51) and field goal percentage, with the Kernels managing just 16 of 46 (34.8%) from the field and committing a season-high 19 turnovers.

Mitchell head coach Ryker Kreutzfeldt placed much of the criticism of the night’s events on himself, saying he didn’t have the Kernels ready enough for the Warriors given Mitchell’s six days to prepare.

“My honest review was this was a poorly coached game,” Kreutzfeldt said. “I did not have the guys ready to go. With the guys we have, to only put them in a position to score 42 points is inexcusable. That’s not me taking the bullet, that’s just the truth. We had a week to get ready and I didn’t get that done.”


Where the Kernels’ struggles were most evident early was in facing an active Warrior defense with exceptional length — all five starters stand 6-foot-2 or taller — as Mitchell trailed 9-3 after the first quarter.

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Sioux Falls Washington defeats Mitchell 47-42.

“It comes down to the physicality,” Kreutzfeldt explained. “It bugged us in the post and we didn’t make very good decisions down there and then we played a lot of one-on-one on the perimeter. And then it goes back to preparation — the guys weren’t prepared to see that kind of defense. Hopefully, we and I can learn something from this.”

Both teams went scoreless for nearly three minutes before Steele Morgan knocked in a 3-pointer for the game’s first points and Mitchell’s only score of the frame. The offensive woes continued well into the second quarter, with Washington running out to a 19-6 lead midway through the period. Mitchell pushed back to within 23-15 at halftime.

The Kernels nearly matched their first-half output in the third quarter, but every Mitchell basket was answered by the Warriors, who carried a 34-28 edge into the final eight minutes.

“We shouldn’t have been down that little, we should’ve been down 20,” Kreutzfeldt said. “But our guys played hard and competed on defense. We would go on a run and then not get a stop when we needed it. Give a lot of credit to Washington, they made big shots when they needed to.”

On three occasions in the fourth quarter, Mitchell cut the deficit to a single possession — the smallest it had been since the opening moments — but again Washington had the necessary answers to push back and secure the road victory.

“We just didn’t do the things we needed to (on offense) early enough,” Kreutzfeldt said. “We dug ourselves such a big hole and that’s hard to crawl out of, especially when you turn it over that much and when you don’t shoot well.”

Morgan was the lone Kernel to score in double figures, notching team-highs with 14 points, seven rebounds and two steals. Colton Smith added eight points and six rebounds off the bench, while Dylan Soulek and Charlie McCardle chipped in seven and six points, respectively. Aiden Myers contributed four points and four assists.


For Washington (9-6), Mandalla Mohamed had 13 points, seven rebounds, three assists and two steals, while AJ Akot and Gage Gasca scored 10 points apiece.

Mitchell (12-4) is back at the Corn Palace to host Pierre on Thursday.

“It doesn’t get any easier. Pierre’s really good and has athletes all over the place,” Kreutzfeldt said. “I’m excited and our guys are excited. It’ll be good to have a quick turnaround.”

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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