Kady Lower poured in 21 points, and the Mitchell girls used a strong second half to escape Morrill 56-46 Saturday night at Mitchell High School.
Lower finished with 21 points and nine rebounds, but it was a determined Morrill team that kept the Tigers caged up early, leading 14-7 after one period and 25-23 at halftime.
Mitchell coach Brock Ehler said he knew Morrill was going to play them tough, but his team settled down and outscored the Lions 33-21 in the second half.
“We have been coming out pretty hot early and tonight we weren't really executing and Morrill was ready to come in and give us a heck of a game. They came out and were more intense in that first quarter. We were trying to play with intensity but we weren't playing with our smarts like boxing out and getting backside rebounds. We were giving up some opportunities and we were also letting them penetrate. But the girls were resiliant and we challenged them to come back in the second half and I think we won the last three quarters of the basketball game.”
Morrill coach Josh Guerue said his team ran into foul trouble after a strong start and couldn't hold on.
“Mitchell did a great job in fighting back and we got into foul trouble and that changed how we could play defense and they [Mitchell] were able to get some shots they weren't getting early in the game,” he said. “We have to learn to play with our feet a little bit and not get those dumb fouls.”
Guerue said that his team has been starting games well, but they need to keep up their intensity level all four quarters.
“We have started strong and then we start making some dumb mistakes. We also have been getting in foul trouble,” he said. “We play a pretty aggressive, trapping-style defense and that takes time to learn to move your feet. But the girls are doing really well and I think the girls are ahead of schedule right know.”
Guerue thought his team could get the win on the night.
“We thought we could get the win tonight, but we came up a little short there and are a little disappointed with that loss,” he said. “But if we keep making steps like we are making and not making stupid fouls, we will be fine down the road.”
A big key in the win for the Tigers was a late second quarter run that turned a 21-13 deficit to only a 25-23 deficit at intermission. A big reason for that was both teams had key players in foul trouble and Mitchell received some clutch performances from other players on the team to start the comeback.
“Both team were in foul trouble,” Ehler said. “[Jessica] Harvey and [Kiley] Guerue had three fouls for Morrill and we had Aspen Reifschneider with three fouls and it the late second quarter run was about other kids stepping up and doing a good job. We got Harvey and Guerue out and got some transition buckets and able to do some things. They then fouled us and we hit some free throws and it was 25-23 at halftime and the kids started to believe again.”
Morrill controlled the tempo in the first quarter, grabbing a 12-5 lead on five points from freshman Jessica Harvey. Taylor Peters stopped the run for Mitchell momentarily before Madie Schafer put back an offensive rebound for the 14-7 Morrill lead after one period.
Morrill kept playing strong in the second quarter, bolting to a 17-9 lead on two Kiley Guerue free throws and led 21-13 after a Harvey bucket with 3:44 to play. After that, Mitchell started the comeback as Felina Blanco netted four points to slice the lead to 23-21 with 34 seconds to play before trailing 25-23 at intermission.
Mitchell took its first lead of the contest in the third after Lower hit a bucket to tie the game and then moments later McKenna Zulkoski had an offensive putback for a Tiger lead. Morrill came right back as Dylainee Peacock had an old-fashioned three-point play to put the Lions back in front. Aspen Reifschneider followed with her first points of the game, nailing a 3-pointer with six to play in the third for a 30-28 lead.
Morrill came back to kake a 33-32 lead on a Kiley Guerue 3-pointer, but Mitchell went on an 8-2 run to hold a 40-35 after three periods.
Mitchell built the lead to double digits, 46-35 with three straight buckets to open the fourth. Morrill sliced the led to single digits once, 50-41, on a Guerue bucket, but the Tigers wouldn't let the Lions get any closer.
Mitchell out-rebounded Morrill 38-37. Lower finished with a double-double with 21 points and 12 rebounds. Zulkoski cleaned the boards for 10 rebounds for the Tigers. Ehler said a big reason for the second half surge was a strong inside game from Lower as well as Zulkoski and freshman Celeste Cardona.
“Celeste is stepping up and she is doing her role. We are putting her in a position to practice against the top five in practice and she can fill in with any player on our team. She is learning fast. She is learning to box out. She is one of our most improved players and she is very athletic.
“And Kady is tough for anyone to guard because she is so strong. They doubled her a lot and we were getting some outside shots. We also really dominated the boards. We had just four rebounds after the first quarter and we challenged them to box out and we ripped off 34 boards in the next three quarters.”
Morrill was led on the glass by Megan Fish with nine boards followed by Schafer with eight.
Mitchell also received eight points from Reifscheider and Cardona.
Guerue paced the Lions with 22 points followed by Peacock with nine and Jessica Harvey with seven. Guerue, Fish and Harvey all had four steals for the Lions.
Morrill 14 11 10 11 — 46
Mitchell 7 16 17 16 — 56
Jessica Harvey 7, Megan Fish 2, Sabrina Austin 2, Madie Schafer 2, Dylainee Peacock 9, Kiley Guerue 22, Bailee Steiner 2.
Celeste Cardona 8, Aspen Reifscheider 8, Kady Lower 21, McKenna Zulkoski 7, Taylor Peters 4, Felina Blanco 6.
Mitchell boys cruise by Morrill
The Mitchell boys put three players in double figures and used a 13-0 first-quarter run to run past Morrill 70-31 Saturday night at Mitchell High School.
Adam Schlotthauer paced the Tigers with 15 points followed by Antonio Barrios with 13 and Bo McVay with 11.
Mitchell coach Jayson Gregory said his team started a little slow but once they heated up, they controlled the tempo of the contest.
“We knew Morrill was going to come out and give us their nest shot especially early with it being a rivalry game,” Gregory said. “We told the boys they were going to come out and give us their best effort and they did. They came out and hit us in the mouth early. But I was really proud of how the boys rebounded and continued to play.”
Morrill, however, started strong, holding an 8-4 lead after Jorge Lara had six points, including an old-fashioned 3-point play and then a 3-point bucket. After that it was all Mitchell as they went on a 13-0 run that was highlighted by 3-pointers by Nacho Rocha and Jamie Fegler for a 17-8 lead. Mitchell led 20-10 after one period.
Mitchell continued excelling on both ends of the court in the second quarter, ripping off 10 straight points with six coming from Schlotthauer. Morrill stopped the bleeding as Lara nailed a 3-poiner with four minutes to play, but the Tigers' Narrios went off for nine points to help the Tigers to a 41-21 halftime lead.
Mitchell put the game away in the third, outscoring Morrill 21-3 that included a 13-0 run to start the third period. Morrill scored their first points of the quarter on a bucket by Jordan Rohde with 2:41 remaining.
Mitchell saw 11 players hit the scoring column. Besides Schlotthauer, Barrios, and McVay's double figure scoring, the Tigers received eight points from Jaden Snyder and seven from Fegler.
Morrill was led by Lara with 12 followed by Rohde with eight and Victor Balles with six.
Morrill 10 11 3 7 — 31
Mitchell 20 21 21 8 — 70
Ryan McMackin 1, Victor Valles 6, Colten Miller 2, Jorge Lara 12, Jordan Rohde 8, RIley Debeor 2.
Antonio Barrios 13, Adam Schlotthauer 15, Bo McVay 11, Garrett Braman 1, Nacho Rocha 3, Jamie Fegler 7, Alex Morales 3, Nick Harriger 3, Zach Pieper 4, Chase Watson 2, Jaden Snyder 8.