MITCHELL — The Mitchell girls basketball team moved into the semifinal round of the Western Trails Conference Basketball Tournament after toppling Bayard 68-21 in a first-round game on Thursday night in Mitchell.
Kenzey Kanno led all scorers in the contest with 29 points. The Mitchell freshman hit nine 3-pointers. Kanno said she got into a nice rhythm early.
“After those first couple of threes, I felt pretty good,” Kanno said. “It was definitely a good night.”
Mitchell head coach Brock Ehler said Kanno put together an incredible shooting performance.
“Fundamentally Kenzey is a great shooter. Even when she isn’t making shots, her fundamentals are there,” Ehler said. “She also probably has the highest basketball IQ on the court. She is an incredibly smart player.”
The victory advances second-seeded Mitchell into a semifinal matchup with third-seeded Kimball on Friday at 3:45 p.m. at Western Nebraska Community College in Scottsbluff. The Tigers and Longhorns are 1-1 against each other this season.
In Mitchell’s first-round win over Bayard, Ehler said he was happy with what his squad got done in improving to 16-3.
“I obviously thought we played well,” Ehler said. “We shot the ball well and defensively we looked good, too.”
Despite the dominant performance, Ehler said the Tigers are still looking to clean a few things up.
“I saw some areas we need to fix,” he said. “We have high expectations and have set high goals for ourselves this season, so we have to look for ways to improve.”
Mitchell jumped out to a quick lead against Bayard by ending the first quarter of play with a 20-7 lead. From there, Mitchell racked up 22 more points in the second quarter to build a 42-10 advantage at halftime.
Bayard head coach Karla Fiscus felt her squad gave a solid effort, but Mitchell’s skill level was too much.
“Mitchell is just a really, really good team,” Fiscus said. “We did some things well and took some OK shots, but even if we were playing good it would be hard to tell next to a team like Mitchell.”
Miah Vera led Bayard offensively with nine points. Kaylie Fiscus followed with seven.
Two other Mitchell players scored in double figures alongside Kanno. Jori Peters scored 14 points and Keyana Wilfred had 13. Wilfred led Mitchell with nine rebounds and three blocks. Madison Watson grabbed seven rebounds and Celeste Cardona had five. Peters led Mitchell with seven assists and four steals. Kanno added four assists and Watson had three. Kanno also finished with four rebounds and three steals.
Ehler said he’s looking forward to Friday’s showdown with Kimball. The winner will advance to Saturday’s championship game.
“They had some really good shooters out there the last time we played and hit something like seven out of their first nine threes, which took the wind out of our sails,” Ehler said. “But I think we will make some adjustments, play hard and see what happens. I’m sure it will be a good game.”
Bayard (5-14) ................................ 7 3 11 0 — 21
Mitchell (16-3) ............................... 20 22 19 7 — 68
BAYARD: Miah Vera 9, Jessi Smith 2, Kaylie Fiscus 7, Liz Marker 2, Lauren Petersen 1.
MITCHELL: Jessica Cotant 1, Celeste Cardona 2, Anabelle Gillen 2, Madison Watson 5, Jori Peters 14, Keyana Wilfred 13, Ricci Ayala 2, Kenzey Kanno 29.