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Second-half surge: Kernels race past Gazelles

Mitchell's Tayler Factor, right, drives to the basket as Yankton's Anna Savey, left, tries to catch her during an Eastern South Dakota Conference girls basketball game on Thursday at the Corn Palace. (Eric Mayer / Republic)

With his team trailing Yankton by two points at halftime, Mitchell High School girls basketball head coach Wes Morgan challenged his team to play more aggressive.

The Kernels responded emphatically.

Fueled by a relentless full-court pressure defense, Mitchell bolted out of the break with a furious 15-0 run and coasted from there for a 51-40 Eastern South Dakota Conference victory on Thursday at the Corn Palace. The win snapped a four-game losing skid for the Kernels, who improved to 3-4 and 2-3 in the ESD.

"I might have broke a marker," Morgan said with a laugh about his halftime speech. "(We) were backing off and weren't up on them tight. (In the second half), they came out and got in their face. They brought it."

The Kernels proved early in the game they were capable of going on long scoring runs. After Yankton opened the game with four points, Mitchell scored the next 11 points. The Gazelles responded as Yankton's Emily Oswald converted a layup at the buzzer to push Yankton back in front 14-13 at the end of opening frame. The second quarter was a defensive battle with the two teams combining to score just 11 points.

"We didn't handle the full-court press really well at the start of the second half," Yankton head coach Trey Krier said. "They capitalized. They put pressure on us and found ways to turn that into buckets for them."

After being held scoreless for the first four minutes of the second half, Yankton was able to cut the Mitchell lead down to seven points. The Gazelles failed to get the game down to four points early in the fourth quarter but finished the game with 24 turnovers.

Scoring was more balanced for Mitchell with three players reaching double figures. Payton Morgan and Mackenzie Miller led the way with 12 points each, while Tayler Factor tossed in 10 points. The Kernels had a strong night shooting, hitting 56 percent from the field (18-of-32) and 73 percent from the free-throw line (14-of-19).

"In Harrisburg, we didn't win but we played really well. I think that carried over," said Morgan, mentioning Tuesday's 47-43 loss to the No. 3-ranked Tigers. "We've been shooting the ball with purpose. When you shoot with a purpose and don't hesitate, good things are going to happen."

For Yankton, Madison Wuebben recorded 20 points, while Oswald added seven points.

The Gazelles (3-4, 3-3 ESD) face Sioux Falls O'Gorman on Tuesday, while Mitchell plays Brandon Valley on Saturday in Brandon.

Subvarsity scores

JV: Yankton won 41-34. Chelsea Brewster had nine points for the Kernels.

Sophomore: Mitchell won 33-18. Camryn Krogman led Mitchell with 11 points.

Mitchell 51, Yankton 40

Yankton (3-4): Sadie Fedders 1-2 3-4 5, Emily Oswald 3-9 1-6 7, Maddy Hochstein 0-3 2-3 2, Payton Wolfgram 0-2 2-2 4, Madison Wuebben 8-14 0-1 20, Anna Savey 0-1 0-0 0, Kelsey Oswald 0-0 0-0 0, Jessica Reinhardt 0-0 0-0 0, Madie Cordell 2-2 0-0 4, Totals 14-33 8-16 40

Mitchell (3-4): Carly Haring 1-1 0-0 2, Mackenzie Miller 4-5 4-4 12, Jordyn Cranny 1-4 0-0 3, Payton Morgan 4-9 4-5 12, Tayler Factor 4-5 2-2 10, Tess Limberg 2-4 1-2 5, Mandy Schmidt 0-2 2-2 2, Shianne Hiemstra 0-0 1-2 1, Chelsea Brewster 2-2 0-2 4, Tori Misiaszek 0-0 0-0 0, Totals 18-32 14-19 51

Y 14 20 31 40

M 13 18 41 51

3-point goals: Y 4-9 (Wuebben 4-8, Wolfgram 0-1), M 1-9 (Cranny 1-4, 0-3 Morgan, Factor 0-1, Schmidt 0-1); Rebounds: Y 20 (Oswald 5), M 19 (Miller 4); Assists: Y 6 (Oswald 2), M (Miller 2); Steals: Y 8 (Oswald 2), M 10 (Factor 3); Blocks: Y 1 (Oswald 1), M 0; Fouls: Y 19, M 22; Fouled out: Y (Wolfgram), M (Brewster 5); Turnovers: Y 24, M 20.

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