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Rebounding from Friday defeat, Mitchell boys roll past Rapid City Central in second half

Kernels outscored RCC 33-14 after the break, 15-5 in decisive third quarter

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Mitchell's Dylan Soulek (23) drives to the basket past Rapid City Central's Keishawn Beasley (20) during a game on Saturday, February 19, 2022 at the Corn Palace.
Matt Gade / Mitchell Republic
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MITCHELL — It took two quarters to settle in and shake off a loss at the final buzzer from the night before , but once the Mitchell High School boys basketball team made its move, it swiftly put Saturday's game out of reach.

Powered by a 15-5 third quarter and suffocating defense, the Kernels surged away from Rapid City Central in the second half on its way to a 65-42 victory on Saturday afternoon at the Corn Palace.

“It was just a complete 180 in the second half and even the second quarter,” said Mitchell coach Ryker Kreutzfeldt. “It was just that first quarter that we weren’t at all ready to go. … Those guys should be proud of what they did in that second half.”

After allowing 20 first-quarter points, the Kernels clamped down on defense, limiting Rapid City Central to 22 points over the final 24 minutes.

Dylan Soulek got the Kernels going early, scoring all nine of his points in the opening two minutes of the contest by way of two 3-pointers and a traditional three-point play. But by the first quarter’s end, Rapid City had stabilized and held a 20-19 lead after eight minutes.

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“For whatever reason, this Saturday afternoon game against Rapid City, Sturgis or Spearfish, it’s just tough,” Kreutzfeldt said. “... It’s early afternoon, in a back-to-back, off a tough loss, those are all good excuses, but in the end we just have to be better.”

For much of the second quarter, few shots were falling on either end and offense was hard to come by, though Caden Hinker found Steele Morgan for a layup on Mitchell’s final possession of the half to give the Kernels a 32-28 lead at the break.

The third quarter, however, was much more decisive.

“It feels like every year when we play these (West River) teams it feels like those first few minutes everyone is running in mud,” Hinker said. “It was a little bit of a hangover from the game before, but I thought we did better coming out in the second half.”

Mitchell dropped in 15 points during the frame to the Cobblers’ five, pushing the lead to 47-33 after three quarters. The advantage only continued to grow in the early stages of the fourth quarter, as three triples — one from Hinker followed by a pair from Gavin Soukup — boosted the lead to 23 points, where it would hover for the remainder of the contest.

“At halftime, coach told us we needed to step it up defensively,” Hinker explained. “We really started picking them up heavy right at halfcourt and they weren’t getting many good looks, so that was absolutely the biggest difference.”

Hinker led all scorers with 25 points to go with five rebounds, two assists, three steals and one block. Soulek and Soukup each added nine points, as Soukup grabbed five rebounds. Charlie McCardle and Aiden Meyers both posted five points and four assists, pulling down seven and six rebounds, respectively. Steele Morgan had seven points and a team-high eight rebounds for the Kernels, who recovered from a 7 of 25 (28%) shooting first half to put in 11 of 26 attempts (42.3%) across the final 16 minutes.

The Cobblers (4-14) got 15 points and four rebounds from Jet Janvrin along with 11 points and three rebounds from Jace Brown. Rapid City Central shot 14 of 42 (33.3%) for the game but was held to 4 of 24 (16.7%) in the second half.

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Mitchell (12-6) is back at the Corn Palace for its final regular-season home game at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday when the Kernels host Brandon Valley.

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 ldierks@mitchellrepublic.com and found on Twitter at @LDierksy.
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