Top-ranked Sioux Falls Jefferson pulls away late to down No. 3 Mitchell boys basketball

Mitchell pulled within one point in the fourth quarter, but a 14-4 run ultimately sealed the win for the No. 1 Cavaliers.

Mitchell's Aiden Myers attempts to get off a shot while navigating between three Sioux Falls Jefferson defenders during a Class AA boys basketball game on Tuesday, Jan. 31, 2023, at Jefferson High School in Sioux Falls.
Landon Dierks / Mitchell Republic

SIOUX FALLS — An upset of the No. 1-ranked team in Class AA was within reach for the third-ranked Mitchell boys basketball team.

But after pulling within a single point early in the fourth quarter, the Kernels found themselves on the wrong side of a 14-4 run, as Sioux Falls Jefferson topped Mitchell, 61-54, on Tuesday night.

The Cavaliers led by 11 points at two separate junctures, once in the second quarter and again in the fourth, while Mitchell only led once all evening by a single point. In the end, it was a game of runs, and the Cavaliers made one more than the Kernels.

“There were probably only three big runs tonight — Jefferson getting up by 10, us to get back in it and then Jefferson to go up 10 again,” said Mitchell head coach Ryker Kreutzfeldt. “But when you play in games like this, you have to make multiple runs. We didn’t tonight and that’s what cost us.”

The game even started with a run, as Jefferson held Mitchell scoreless for nearly 4 1/2 minutes as part of an 8-0 start to the contest. Though, by the first quarter’s end, it was just a three-point edge at 14-11. After the Kernels took their first and only lead of the night at 15-14, the Cavaliers responded by creating 11 points of separation and carried a 34-24 lead into halftime.


Mitchell came out of the locker room and instantly went on an 8-0 run of their own to pull within one possession, as the two sides started trading baskets until the Cavs led 43-37 entering the fourth quarter.

Mitchell's Charlie McCardle (35) goes up for an uncontested layup during a Class AA boys basketball game against Sioux Falls Jefferson on Tuesday, Jan. 31, 2023, at Jefferson High School in Sioux Falls.
Landon Dierks / Mitchell Republic

“We came out of the half and threw the first punch,” Kreutzfeldt said. “Of course, Jefferson’s going to make a run back at you, and we kind of folded at that point.”

A 5-0 push cut the lead down to a single point early in the final frame, but that’s as close as the Kernels would come. Jefferson restored the 11-point edge from the first half at 57-46 and cruised from there.

“It was the transition with the turnovers that hurt us,” Kreutzfeldt said. “We did pretty well against the press, but had some bad turnovers that led to the difference in the game.”

“When we kept them in half court, I’d like to see how many points they scored because it wasn’t that much,” he added.

Jefferson (13-0) was paced by a game-high 21 points, four rebounds, four assists and two steals from all-state guard Taylen Ashley, while all-state forward Kaden Year added 17 points and four rebounds and Griffin Wilde scored 12 points.

Dylan Soulek led Mitchell with 17 points, seven rebounds and two assists, as Steele Morgan chipped in 12 points and eight rebounds. Charlie McCardle scored eight points and Aiden Myers had six points, three rebounds and four assists.

Mitchell (9-3) returns to the Corn Palace for a pair of weekend contests against Sturgis (Friday) and Spearfish (Saturday).


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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