MITCHELL — In a script that seemed to significantly mirror the two teams’ first matchup at Huron Arena in December, the second-ranked Mitchell Tigers used a big third-quarter run to put distance on the scoreboard and then hung on for a 67-56 win over the Huron Tigers Tuesday at the Corn Palace.
The Tigers controlled the opening tip and started the game off well, as senior Gavin Moeding shook free for a three from the college stripe on Huron’s first possession. However, Mitchell immediately responded as Colton Smith of the Kernels hit a three from the corner to tie the game.
Smith got a tip-in off an offensive rebound and Gavin Soukup nailed a long ball from the top of the key to give Mitchell an 8-3 lead.
After the Tigers had missed four straight shots without being able to grab an offensive rebound before Carsen Evans nailed a three. Anderson Porisch took the ball at the top of the key and drove in for a layup to knot the game 8-8 with 3:40 left in the first quarter.
That was when Mitchell point guard Markus Talley took over the pace of the game. He worked the ball around the offense and hit a three up top, then after missing a dunk on a steal, he made another steal and got the layup to give the home team a 13-8 lead.
Blake Ellwein got into the scoring column, hitting one of two free throws after a hard contact foul underneath the hoop, but Soukup put in a shot under the hoop on a wraparound pass from Parker Mandel.
Moeding was fouled on a drive and hit both free throws, but Mandel answered with a three.
As time ran out on the first quarter, Ellwein grabbed the ball, drove the length of the court, and then he pulled up for a three-point basket to make it 18-14 Mitchell at the end of the first period.
Talley opened the second quarter with a drive and bucket, but CJ Gainey was the beneficiary of an offensive rebound by Holden Hegg, nailing a three.
Talley then hit a floater in the lane, and Moeding responded with a three to make it 22-20.
Smith answered for Mitchell with a three. Ellwein cut backdoor the next time down the court and scored.
Landen Soulek made his first bucket of the game for Mitchell, draining a three. Talley then stole the ball and was fouled on the drive, hitting both free throws to make it 30-22 Mitchell.
Ellwein was fouled and made the bucket, but he missed the free throw. After a defensive stop by Huron, Evans hit his second three of the game to bring Huron within 30-27.
Soulek got lost in the defensive rotation and hit his second three of the quarter, and Talley got the ball away from Huron and hit a runner in the lane.
Moeding drove hard to the hoop as time ran out and nailed a pair of free throws with 2.6 seconds left in the half to send the teams to the locker room with Mitchell leading 35-29.
Moeding made a nice cut to the hoop to open second half scoring, but Smith ended up with the ball off a steal and made the layup and foul shot.
Ellwein turned up his aggressivenese to the hoop, making one of two free throws, then making a strong drive down the lane and hitting a short runner, bringing Huron within four at 38-34.
Turnovers then bit the Tigers, leading to a big Mitchell run, as Soukup made a bucket off a steal, and Talley found Mandel on a wraparound pass after another steal. Smith made a strong move to get the Kernels another basket to give Mitchell their first 10-point lead of the game at 44-34.
Talley then found Smith after yet another steal and Smith hit the layup and a foul shot. Sutton Thompson was then fouled and sank two free throws for Mitchell to push the lead out to 49-34.
Gainey was able to end the 11-0 run with a layup, but Mandel answered back with a jumper.
The Tigers closed out the third quarter strong as Porisch drove hard for a basket and Gainey nailed a long three at the buzzer to send it to the final quarter back to a 10-point difference at 51-41.
After Smith shook loose for a bucket to open the fourth for Mitchell, Evans hit his third three of the game for Huron and Gainey got a layup on a backdoor pass from Porisch.
Soukup got an offensive rebound and made a bucket, but the Tigers were able to get a pair of free throws from Moeding and then Evans was in great position under the hoop for a basket to make it 55-50 Mitchell.
That’s when the Tigers turnover struggles hit again. Evans committed his fourth foul attempting to defend as Smith drove in. Smith sank both free throws and then Soukup got a bucket after a Talley steal to push the lead back out to 59-50 for Mitchell.
Ellwein then hit a pair of free throws after a hard foul underneath and sank a short jumper to bring Huron within 59-54, but time was now running out on the Tigers.
Mitchell hit eight-of-eight free throws in the final 90 seconds of the game, and Huron was only able to get one basket to fall in that time, a layup by Gainey off a pass from Moeding.
When Soukup hit the last of Mitchell’s free throws at the end of the game, the final was set at 67-56.
The Kernels move to 8-1 behind 20 points from Smith. Talley and Soukup each chipped in 15 points.
Coach Tim Buddenhagen was disappointed in the defensive effort from his squad.
“We have three guys we need to guard. We didn’t do our job,” Buddenhagen said. “We have to know where guys like that are. That’s just bad communication.”
Huron (4-4) had just five players score in the game, but four reached double figures, led by Ellwein with 15. Moeding scored 14, Gainey added 12, and Evans chipped in 11 off the bench.
Buddenhagen was frustrated with the team’s offense.
“Our offense led to their scoring,” the Tigers’ coach lamented. “We’re going to get it cleaned up.”
Huron travels to Sioux Falls Lincoln Firday.
Huron 14 29 41 56
Mitchell 18 35 51 67
Huron (4-4): Gavin Moeding 3 6-6 14, CJ Gainey 5 0-0 12, Blake Ellwein 5 4-7 15, Anderson Porisch 2 0-1 4, Carsen Evans 4 0-0 11. Totals: 19 10-14 56.
Mitchell (8-1): Landen Soulek 2 0-0 6, Markus Talley 5 4-4 15, Colton Smith 7 4-4 20, Parker Mandel 3 0-0 7, Gavin Soukup 5 4-4 15, Sutton Thompson 0 4-6 4. Totals: 22 16-18 67.