Second-quarter surge propels Mitchell past Rapid City Central

The Kernels started the second quarter on a 14-0 run to pull away from the Cobblers.

Mitchell's Ben Helleloid (21) goes to the basket through a trio of Rapid City Central defenders during a game on Friday at the Corn Palace. (Matt Gade / Republic)

Mitchell High School went for the knockout early Friday.

Rapid City Central negated a 10-2 Mitchell run to start the game to pull within five at the end of the first quarter, but the Kernels responded by scoring 14 consecutive points to start the second quarter to build a 13-point halftime lead.

Even when the Cobblers began to build steam late in the fourth quarter, Mitchell’s lead proved insurmountable. Any time Central found success, the Kernels leaned on Caden Hinker and Zane Alm to close out the game, as the pair scored 11 points apiece in the second half to push Mitchell to a 59-47 win.

“We went out there last year and got embarrassed right off the bus and we brought that up in the locker room,” MHS head coach Todd Neuendorf said. “The other thing we said was that we had to play defense. We pounded it in their head. I think it was our defense that set the run for us.”

Hinker and Alm ultimately combined for 40 of Mitchell’s 59 points, but four players had at least five points in the first half. Ben Helleloid scored five points and sophomore Dylan Soulek scored all nine of his points in the first half as the Kernels built their lead.


Meanwhile, Central struggled to convert contested baskets at the rim and missed outside shots. Mitchell (3-0) held the Cobblers to 27.6% shooting in the first half and 33.3% for the entire game, marking the third consecutive game it has held an opponent to less than 40% shooting this season.

“I think it was all of us buying into it,” said Helleloid, who had five assists and one turnover. “Defense is a lot of attitude and we worked on putting more effort into our defense all week and I think it really showed.”

There was one Central (1-1) player the Kernels did not have an answer for, however. Micah Swallow was the lone Cobbler in double figures and helped keep Mitchell from extending its lead any further, particularly in the first half.

The 6-foot-3 Swallow scored 16 of Central’s 22 points in the first half, finishing with 31 points, 15 rebounds and two steals in defeat.

“I’ve never been a guy that says, ‘We’re going to let a guy get his,’” Neuendorf said. “It just never works for me. I say let’s play defense and not let him score, but (Swallow) is just a good player. The guys followed their script, he just made some phenomenal plays.”

But even Swallow could not match Hinker and Alm in the post during the second half. The Mitchell big men accounted for 22 of the team’s 24 points in the final 16 minutes. Hinker recorded his second consecutive double-double, with 23 points, 13 rebounds, six assists and two steals.


Meanwhile, Alm rebounded from a 3-for-10 shooting performance in the first half to go 5 of 7 in the second half, finishing with 17 points and 10 rebounds.

“You need something good and stable,” Neuendorf said. “You’re either going to get a good shot and make it or get a good shot and get fouled. We want to run stuff through them and we’ve been working on different ways of getting the rest of the guys involved. The guys understand if they get (Hinker and Alm) the ball, they’re going to get good looks because teams are going to worry about them.”

Mitchell returns to action against Rapid City Stevens at 1:30 p.m. Saturday at the Corn Palace, seeking a chance for its first 4-0 start since 2014-2015.

Mitchell 59, Rapid City Central 47

Mitchell (3-0): Caden Hinker 8-16 4-5 23, Zane Alm 8-17 1-1 17, Lucas Moller 1-3 0-0 3, Ben Helleloid 2-6 1-2 5, Dylan Soulek 3-5 2-2 9, Jonah Schmidt 1-3 0-0 2, Gavyn Degen 0-0 0-0 0, Steele Morgan 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 23-50 8-10 59.

Rapid City Central (1-1): Julian Swallow 2-11 0-0 5, Micah Swallow 11-25 6-10 31, Rio Nutter 0-1 0-0 0, Kohl Meisman 3-9 0-0 7, Josh Krauter 1-3 0-0 2, Ayden Frudich 0-1 0-0 0, Jace Brown 0-0 0-0 0, Blaine Isler 0-0 0-0 0, Ryker Henne 1-4 0-0 2, Liam Porter 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 18-54 6-10 47.

MHS 17 35 47 59


RCC 12 22 31 47

3-point field goals: MHS 5-14 (Hinker 3-5, Soulek 1-2, Moller 1-3, Helleloid 0-1, Alm 0-3), RCC 5-19 (M.Swallow 3-9, Meisman 1-3, J.Swallow 1-4, Krauter 0-1, Nutter 0-1, Henne 0-1). Rebounds: MHS 36 (Hinker 13, Alm 10), RCC 30 (M.Swallow 15). Assists: MHS 13 (Hinker 6, Helleloid 5), RCC 7 (J.Swallow 3). Steals: MHS 5 (Hinker 2, Schmidt 2), RCC 8 (J.Swallow 3). Blocks: MHS 4 (Four players with 1), RCC 3 (Three players with 1). Total fouls: MHS 11, RCC 14. Turnovers: MHS 12, RCC 10.

Sub-varsity scores: JV: Mitchell 52, Rapid City Central 34. Sophomore: Rapid City Central 46, Mitchell 45. Freshman: Mitchell ‘A’ 62, Rapid City Central 43; Rapid City Central 61, Mitchell ‘B’ 45.

What To Read Next
Get Local