BRANDON-The Mitchell High School boys tennis team completed its regular season on Thursday in a triangular against Brandon Valley and Yankton.
The Kernels squared off with two of the top teams in the Eastern South Dakota Conference, just three days ahead of the conference tournament.
While Mitchell was close in several matches, Brandon Valley and Yankton proved to be too strong, picking up 7-2 and 8-1 victories, respectively.
"We competed well, but they're just at the top of the ESD," MHS coach Pat Moller said. "Yankton, we played them for the second time and I liked the way we competed. I liked the way we competed against Brandon Valley, too. We're almost right there, but not over the top quite yet."
Mitchell saw four of its matches go to three sets, but only managed to come out victorious on one of them. Kade Clark and Ryan Bergeson battled Brandon Valley's Matthew Schmitz and Carson Mork-the top No. 1 doubles team in the ESD-to three sets, but Clark was injured in the first game of the second set, and although he played the remainder of the match, his team fell, 7-5, 3-6, 10-8.
Macon Larson dropped a three-set match to Brandon Valley's Evan Talcott at No. 4 singles, 3-6, 6-4, 10-3, while Mitchell's Ben Helleloid defeated Andrew Hanson, 7-6 (5), 4-6, 10-4 at No. 5 singles. Max Tupper also lost to Yankton's Isaac Klimisch at No. 3 singles, 3-6, 6-3, 12-10.
"It seems like in the big points we get a little conservative," Moller said. "We get back on our heels and Brandon Valley and Yankton are veteran teams and they were more aggressive on those difference-maker points. ... Instead of playing not to lose those big points, we have to try to win."
Clark missed his final three matches of the day, but projects to return on Friday. Bergeson defeated Brandon Valley's Carson Mork, 6-4, 6-4, in No. 2 singles, while Tupper and Kaden Jerke picked up a straight-set win over Yankton's Klimisch and Sawatzke at No. 2 doubles.
Mitchell competes in the ESD tournament at 8 a.m. on Friday in Brookings.