No. 3 Mitchell boys basketball duplicates winning recipe against Spearfish

The Kernels held the Spartans to 11 points on 12% shooting from the field in the first half on the way to a 17-point home win on Saturday afternoon.

Mitchell's Charlie McCardle (35) goes up for a layup in front of a Spearfish defender during a Class AA boys basketball game on Saturday, Feb. 4, 2023, at the Corn Palace.
Landon Dierks / Mitchell Republic

MITCHELL — Saturday afternoon and Friday night shared the same plot for the Mitchell High School boys basketball team, with the only tangible difference being the antagonist.

In a rerun of a 26-point win over Sturgis from 18 hours before, a slow start swiftly gave way to a commanding performance, as the Kernels breezed by Spearfish 56-39 on Saturday at the Corn Palace.

After falling behind 5-4 at the midway point of the first quarter, the remainder of the half belonged firmly to the Kernels.

A 13-2 run to close the first quarter left Mitchell ahead 17-7. It was more of the same in the second quarter, as a 14-4 scoring edge resulted in a 31-11 halftime advantage. That margin was due in large part to the Kernels’ effort on defense, limiting Spearfish to 3 of 25 (12%) shooting in the opening 16 minutes.

“It was a really similar game (to Friday),” said Mitchell head coach Ryker Kreutzfeldt. “Our defense really took the game over in the first half. … We struggled offensively with turnovers, but our defense was really, really good tonight.”


Mitchell allowed 15 points in the first quarter and just 16 points the rest of the game to defeat the Scoopers.

It was 42-23 after three quarters, and though Mitchell re-inserted its starters when the Spartans came within 16 points in the final frame, the result was never in doubt.

Markus Talley tossed in a game-high 20 points powered by six 3-pointers, providing a welcome boost to the Kernels early with 11 first-half points.

“Markus was a flamethrower tonight and he kind of carried us offensively,” Kreutzfeldt said.

Mitchell's Markus Talley (4) goes up for a layup in front of a Spearfish defender during a Class AA boys basketball game on Saturday, Feb. 4, 2023, at the Corn Palace.
Landon Dierks / Mitchell Republic

Steele Morgan posted 14 points and seven rebounds, while Dylan Soulek recorded 10 points, seven rebounds and four assists for Mitchell.

Mitchell shot 20 of 42 (47.6%) for the afternoon, including 12 of 24 (50%) in the first half. Meanwhile, Spearfish finished 12 of 43 (27.9%) from the field.

“Now we have to get our offense going again,” Kreutzfeldt said. “But defense is where you win it. You can’t count on your offense every night, so we’re finding different ways to impact the game and that’s nice to see.”

Spearfish (4-8) was paced by 18 points from Seth Hamilton and 11 from Antonio Serrano. Dylon Doren had six points and seven rebounds, with Serrano also grabbing five boards.

The Kernels (11-3) are on the road for their only contest next week, a matchup with Aberdeen Central on Tuesday, Feb. 7.

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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