After a tight first half of the final set, the Bobcats pulled away from Mitchell on a 7-3 run to earn the Eastern South Dakota Conference win, 25-22, 28-26, 18-25, 23-25 and 15-11.

“You have to give Brookings credit, they played amazing tonight,” MHS head coach Deb Thill said. “Even you ask (Brookings) coach Tina Birgen, she’d probably say it was the best they played all year. It probably came down to who made more errors -- hitting errors or serving errors -- and both teams had great hustle plays.”

The Kernels appeared to be on the brink of defeat in the fourth set, trailing by as many as five points early on.

Mitchell (3-15) would rebound to take its first lead at 23-22 and hung on to extend the match to a fifth set, guided by a stellar performance from setter Katy Sebert, who Thill said played “an amazing match.”

Both teams went back and forth in the final frame, but when Mitchell knotted it at 8-8, Brookings made a surge. Aside from a short spurt coming out of a timeout that led to a kill by Regan Waddell, the Bobcats were able to maintain control for the win.

“We weren’t as aggressive as we needed to be to keep them out of system,” Thill said. “We gave them some easy balls in the middle. When your setter is in system, there’s more easy decisions to make.”

Kat Charging had 16 kills, Johanna Miller had 15 kills and Regan Weisbeck had 13 kills for Brookings (3-12). Brittany Birgen handed out 54 assists and Molly Steffensen had 35 digs.

Katy Sebert had 33 assists and 21 digs, while Waddell had nine kills and 16 digs. Sarah Sebert also had 35 digs and Amy Uher came up with 24 digs. Megan Scheurenbrand and Mary Baltzer added eight kills apiece for Mitchell.

The Kernels travel to Yankton for another ESD contest on Oct. 15.