Big second quarter lifts Kernel boys past RC Stevens – Mitchell Republic


MITCHELL — The Kernels faced some early adversity during Friday’s game against Rapid City Stevens.

However, thanks to a blistering second-quarter effort, Mitchell managed to surmount an early deficit, and an apparent lower-leg injury to Gavin Soukup, to deliver a 52-41 win at the Corn Palace.

“A lot of grit, especially with Soukup going down in that first quarter,” head coach Ryker Kreutzfeldt said. “Things were already looking bad and then Soukup went down. But really proud of our bench players that came in and played with a lot of poise. I thought they made some big shots.”

Trailing 13-5 late in the first quarter, the Kernels went on a 25-2 run to close the half, and outscored the Raiders 20-3 in the second quarter.

Powering the run was junior guard Markus Talley, who scored 14 first-half points and finished with a game-high 22 points. Going 8-of-13 from the field, Talley managed to slice through Stevens’ defense and finish effectively at the rim, while also creating opportunities on the perimeter for the likes of Sutton Thompson and Landen Soulek, each of whom buried 3-pointers during the run.

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Mitchell’s Markus Talley has his shot blocked by Rapid City Stevens’ Minkah Hawley in the first quarter of a high school boys basketball game on Dec. 15, 2023 at the Corn Palace in Mitchell.

Jacob Nielson / Mitchell Republic

“It’s easy to play off Marcus because he gets so much attention,” Kreutzfeldt said. “Four guys are diving in on him trying to get him to give it up. And then we just need guys to make those shots and that’s just the benefit of playing with a kid that good. And then you have Colton (Smith) and Soukop all out there, we can get hard to guard in a hurry.”

Defensively, the Kernels forced Stevens (2-1) into making turnovers, translating into Mitchell points. Twice, the Raiders fell for tricks by the Kernel students, who started chanting down the shot clock prematurely, prompting the visitors to hoist up rushed shots and spoil their own possession.

Stevens, which had 21 points from Shun-Zi White Women, tried to whittle a 30-15 halftime deficit, but was held to just 11 points in the third quarter, while the Kernels stretched their lead to 45-26. The Raiders cut it to 15 in the fourth quarter, but a corner 3-pointer from Sutton Thompson extended Mitchell’s lead 50-32 with 3:00 remaining.

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Mitchell’s Landon Soulek passes the basketball in the second quarter of a boys high school game against Rapid City Stevens on Dec. 15, 2023 at the Corn Palace in Mitchell.

Jacob Nielson / Mitchell Republic

Three days after everything went right for the Mitchell boys in a win over Watertown, Kreutzfeldt was also pleased with his team for figuring out to win the hard way.

“Tonight we had to battle back and we had to find our composure and we had to had to hang our hat on the defensive end to win us the game,” Kreutzfeldt said. “I’m just really proud of of all 11 guys on our roster.”

Rounding out the Kernels’ scoring, Thompson had 12 points, Smith had eight points and Soulek had seven points. Mitchell shot 47.5 percent from the field, while holding the Stevens to 39.5 percent.

Mitchell (3-0) returns to action Saturday, Dec. 16 when they host Rapid City Central at 2 p.m. at the Corn Palace.

Jacob Nielson

Jacob Nielson is a sports reporter for the Mitchell Republic. He joined the Mitchell Republic in July 2023 after graduating from Utah State University in 2023 with a degree in journalism and minor in history. He covers a variety of prep and collegiate sports throughout South Dakota.

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