Thunder Basin holds off Mitchell girls at Hoop City Classic

Kernels got within five points in the fourth quarter but couldn't pull out first win

Mitchell's Sawyer Stoebner drives in for a basket in front of Thunder Basin's (Wyo.) Risa Pilson during a game on Tuesday in the Hoop City Classic at the Corn Palace. Matt Gade / Mitchell Republic
Matt Gade

The Mitchell High School girls basketball team ended up a few plays short of picking up its first win of the season Tuesday.

Thunder Basin, of Gillette, Wyoming, led from wire-to-wire and picked up a victory over the Kernels 61-45 in the Hoop City Classic at the Corn Palace.

Mitchell coach Cole Knippling said the Kernels saw the difference in those possessions being decided by being in the correct place at the right time.

“We’re definitely competing,” Knippling said. “There’s a few plays where we just needed to be a half-second quicker and they were really able to get a number of baskets on plays like that. In the second half, we gave up some plays where we weren’t rotating like we needed to and we’re running out to them as they’re driving in, and they got four or five layups on those and that’s the difference in the ball game.”

Mitchell's Sarah Sebert battles with Thunder Basin's (Wyo.) Laney McCarty for the ball during a game on Tuesday in the Hoop City Classic at the Corn Palace. Matt Gade / Mitchell Republic
Matt Gade


The Bolts (5-2) led throughout the first half, seeing a 14-9 first quarter lead swell to 10 on two occasions in the second quarter, including with 3:15 remaining until halftime when Cena Carlson’s bucket put Thunder Basin up 24-14. But a late push from Mitchell that included a Lauren Van Overschelde 3-pointer, three points from Sawyer Stoebner and a pair of free throws from Sarah Sebert allowed Mitchell to get within four points late in the half before the intermission margin was set at 28-22.

GALLERY: Mitchell girls against Thunder Basin (Wyo.) in the Hoop City Classic
Mitchell’s last surge came early in the fourth quarter, when Taylor Giblin’s 3-pointer to open the frame cut the Thunder Basin lead to 40-35. But the Kernels rarely had an answer for the Bolts’ 6-foot-2 Joelie Spelts, who scored 13 of the first 15 points for Thunder Basin in the fourth quarter, and finished with a game-high 19. Laney McCarty had 14 points for the Bolts, which plays its second HCC game at 11 a.m. Wednesday against Elk Point-Jefferson in Sioux Falls.

Stoebner finished with 15 points and Van Overschelde, a freshman, had 12 points for the Kernels.

“We really saw them both play with a lot of confidence, which was fun to see,” Knippling said.

Mitchell (0-4) returns to the Corn Palace floor for another Hoop City Classic with a Gillette, Wyoming foe, hosting Campbell County at 3 p.m. The Camels lost to Bridgewater-Emery in Tuesday’s opening game, 49-32.

“We can’t be feeling sorry for ourselves and we’ve got to get right back to it on (Wednesday). There’s a lot for us to clean up but we’re not that far away and we’ve got to keep believing that we’re on the right track.”

Traxler is the assistant editor and sports editor for the Mitchell Republic. He's worked for the newspaper since 2014 and has covered a wide variety of topics. He can be reached at
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