RAPID CITY, S.D. – For the first time in 11 years, Mitchell Kernel boys basketball will play for a Class AA state championship after defeating #2 Sioux Falls Lincoln 61-59 on Friday night in Rapid City.
The Kernels got off to a quick start with an 11-3 lead in the first four minutes before Lincoln rallied to take a 16-15 lead at the end of the first quarter.
The Patriots lead would be short lived as Mitchell went on a 9-0 run to start the second quarter and went into halftime with a 29-21 advantage.
The Lincoln offense struggled to get going all night long, shooting just 25% in the first half and 33% (18-of-54) for the game. The Patriots stayed in the game by making 13-of-14 free throws while the Kernels missed seven of its 11 attempts from the line.
An 11 point Mitchell lead early in the second half was cut to three before sophomore Markus Talley made a three to beat the third quarter buzzer to put the Kernels up 46-40.
Lincoln would get within two points on two separate occasions in the final 90 seconds before the Patriots had a chance to win in with the game’s final possession.
An Elliot Whitney missed three from the left wing in the final seconds secured the victory for Mitchell as they look for their first state championship since 2005.
Steele Morgan had team highs of 16 points and 11 rebounds, one of four Kernels in double figures. Talley finished with 14 points, including 3-of-4 from three. Dylan Soulek and Colton Smith each added 10 points.
J.T. Rock led Lincoln with 20 points and 13 rebounds, shooting 5-of-14 from the field and 10-of-10 from the foul line.
In the night’s first semifinal, #4 Yankton upset #1 Sioux Falls Jefferson 69-66 in overtime. Rugby Ryken finished with a game-high 24 points and six assists.
#3 Mitchell faces #4 Yankton on Saturday night at 8:45 pm CST for the AA boys state title. Pregame show starts at 8:30 pm on KORN News Radio FM 101.3/AM 1490 and KORNRadio.com, with Tournament Fever at 5:45 pm live in Rapid city.