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Too much Mors: Kernels have no answer for Yankton sophomore star

Mitchell High School has come close to knocking off some of the top boys basketball teams in Class AA, but haven't been able to complete the deal. On Friday, fourth-ranked Yankton (13-4) became the latest team to make the trip to the Corn Palace ...

Mitchell's Derek Factor (11) and Yankton's Owen Feser (12) both scramble for a loose ball during a game on Friday night at the Corn Palace. (Matt Gade / Republic)
Mitchell's Derek Factor (11) and Yankton's Owen Feser (12) both scramble for a loose ball during a game on Friday night at the Corn Palace. (Matt Gade / Republic)

Mitchell High School has come close to knocking off some of the top boys basketball teams in Class AA, but haven't been able to complete the deal.

On Friday, fourth-ranked Yankton (13-4) became the latest team to make the trip to the Corn Palace and the Kernels greeted them by scoring the first nine points of the game. They would lead for the majority of the first eight minutes-until Matthew Mors decided to take control.

Mors scored the last nine points of the first quarter to tie the game and Mitchell (1-15) never led again. The Kernels stayed within striking distance of finally springing an upset, but every time they made it too close for comfort, Mors had an answer to send Yankton to a 58-50 win.

"We did what we wanted, we kept everyone else in check and Mors had his 26 (points)," MHS head coach Todd Neuendorf said. "... Our kids did what we asked them to do and he just made the better play. That's why North Carolina, Duke and Wisconsin are all visiting him. He's a really good player."

Mors put his fingerprints on every aspect of the game, regardless of what Mitchell threw his way. The 6-foot-7 sophomore forward scored 13 of his game-high 26 points in the first quarter, while also hauling in 14 rebounds, dishing out four assists and blocking two shots.

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The Kernels attempted to use multiple defenses throughout the night, with Kiel Nelson guarding him man-to-man and Kaden Soukup chasing him in a box-and-one.

They even double-teamed him at times, until Mors caught the ball in the left corner in the final minute and drove down the baseline and dunked the ball with two hands to snuff out any potential Mitchell rally.

"There's really no break when you're guarding him," Nelson said. "He's going to let it fly outside and he's going to tear you up inside. He makes it really hard on a guy trying to play defense."

Mors made his biggest impact of the game on defense, though, and it stemmed from a simple block in the first quarter.

Trailing 16-7, Yankton switched to a 1-3-1 zone, daring Mitchell to shoot from the outside and it led to just eight points in the remainder of the first half.

With the threat of Mors blocking a shot in the paint, 23 of the Kernels' 41 shot attempts came from beyond the 3-point line, where they shot 30.4 percent for the game.

"It makes you think about it, because when he comes flying at you, he can cover a lot of ground," Neuendorf said. "I'll never question a kid on that. When they block it, you're going to rush (the next one) or shoot it differently. We had some guys that maybe missed a shot because they afraid someone was going to come from behind and swat it."

Caden Hinker and Carter Jacobsen led Mitchell with 14 points apiece, while Soukup added a season-high 11 points.

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The Kernels travel to No. 5 Sioux Falls Roosevelt today at 7 p.m.

Yankton 58, Mitchell 50

Yankton (13-4): Miles Carda 0-1 0-0 0, Cole Sawatzke 3-12 0-0 9, Cooper Cornemann 3-8 5-6 11, Owen Feser 3-4 1-2 8, Kieren Luellman 0-0 0-0 0, Matthew Mors 9-16 6-8 26, Hunter Kotrous 2-4 0-0 4. Totals 20-45 12-16 58.

Mitchell (1-15): Kiel Nelson 1-6 0-1 2, Hunter Stahle 0-1 0-0 0, Derek Factor 1-2 2-4 4, Kaden Soukup 4-9 0-0 11, Caden Hinker 5-10 1-2 14, Ben Helleloid 2-5 0-0 5, Carter Jacobsen 5-8 4-6 14, Ryley Johansen 0-0 0-0 0, Zane Alm 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 18-41 7-13 50.

Y 16 29 45 58

M 16 24 36 50

3-point field goals: Y 6-23 (Sawatzke 3-12, Mors 2-8, Feser 1-1, Cornemann 0-1, Carda 0-1), M 7-23 (Hinker 3-8, Soukup 3-8, Helleloid 1-2, Factor 0-1, Stahle 0-1, Nelson 0-3). Rebounds: Y 29 (Mors 14), M 24 (Nelson 6, Hinker 6). Assists: Y 7 (Mors 4), M 11 (Factor 3, Jacobsen 3). Blocked shots: Y 2 (Mors 2), M 1 (Hinker). Steals: Y 4 (Feser 3), M 8 (Jacobsen 4). Turnovers: Y 11, M 10. Total fouls: Y 14, M 15.

Sub-varsity scores: JV: Mitchell 41, Yankton 31. Sophomore: Mitchell 60, Yankton 40. Freshmen: Mitchell A 50, Yankton 48. Mitchell B 42 Yankton 36.

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