Mitchell girls top Spearfish to win third straight game

·4 min read

Jan. 22—MITCHELL — Due to the Hanson Classic boys basketball all day event, the Mitchell High School girls basketball team was unable to host Spearfish at the Corn Palace.

Instead, the Kernels went five minutes down the road and played at Mitchell Christian High School for the first time in school history.

Mitchell scored 16 points in the fourth quarter to put away Spearfish 48-40 and win its fourth game of the season.

"It should have felt like a foreign environment, but it felt really neat," Mitchell head coach Cole Knippling said. "The noise was fun in here and it felt like a playoff game. I thought it was a good environment and experience for the whole team."

After scoring 18 points in the first quarter the night before in the Corn Palace against Sturgis, Mitchell struggled in the first quarter at the Mitchell Christian gym. Mitchell hadn't scored a point until half way through the first quarter when Sawyer Stoebner found Sarah Sebert in the corner for an open 3-pointer.

Spearfish was struggling as well, not scoring a point until there was nearly three minutes left in the first. Mitchell led 7-5 after the first quarter and Knippling said it was the style of play that created that slow start for both teams.

"I don't think the arena had anything to do with it, I felt it was the style of the game," Knippling said. "We talked about it and our game against Sturgis was fun, but it doesn't always go that way. If we do start out slow, we have to keep grinding. I told them early in the game it was that style and it wasn't going to be pretty. I told them they were going to have to fight for every single bucket and I thought we did a good job of that."

A grind it was, but the offense started to click for both teams after the first eight minutes. Spearfish went on a 12-4 run to start the second quarter and take a six point lead. After a Mitchell timeout, point guard Stoebner started controlling the pace of the game. She got to the free throw line twice, had four rebounds and three assists in a span of three minutes. She also split a pair of free throws at the end of the second quarter to give Mitchell a one-point lead heading into halftime.

Stoebner was just as impactful in the second half as well, helping Mitchell start the third quarter on a 11-4 run. Stoebner had two steals that led to a layup and Lauren Van Overschelde 3-pointer, giving the Kernels an eight point lead. Spearfish's Stella Marcus would heat up in the final minute making a transition three and a layup as the quarter came to an end to cut the Kernel's lead back to three.

Mitchell would go on to score 16 points and make 8-of-12 free throws in the fourth quarter to seal the win and earn its third straight victory.

Stoebner had another all-around performance and her third 20-point game this season as she finished with 22 points, 10 rebounds, five assists and three steals. Sebert had 11 points, four rebounds and two steals while Van Overschelde had six points and three steals. Kaitlyn Christensen added four points and six rebounds, and Taylor Giblin added five points.

Spearfish's Marcus led the team with 18 points and Mya Kochuten had 14 points. The Spartans travel to St. Thomas More on Jan. 25.

As for Mitchell, they play three straight road games before returning to the Corn Palace for a matchup against Sioux Falls Roosevelt on Feb. 3. The Kernels started off the season losing its first four games but have recently found some habits they can contribute to wins going forward. Mitchell has held each opponent in its last games to 41 points or less.

"We started to run a team offense and that's a big thing we needed to rectify," Knippling said. "For the first five or six games, we were really just relying on individuals making plays and now we're just making team plays. We're getting a lot of assisted baskets now and we're helping each other defensively. We're using the post, Kaitlyn and Taylor have really stepped up. Players are starting to know their roles and that's why we're improving."

Mitchell plays Harrisburg at 7 p.m. on Jan. 25.