MITCHELL – The Mitchell boys and girls basketball teams benefitted from strong starts in registering wins over Morrill in their Highway 26 rivalry on Saturday night in Mitchell.
The Mitchell boys received 21 points from Jamie Fegler, and a double-double of 16 rebounds and 12 assists from Bo McVay, in winning 60-47. It was the Tigers' second straight win.
The Mitchell girls raced out to a 17-0 lead and led 26-4 after one period in winning 63-33. The 26 first-quarter points proved symbolic after those in attendance acknowledged a 26-second moment of silence before the game for the 26 victims of Friday's Newtown, Conn., tragedy.
Mitchell girls coach Brock Ehler said the strong start was the difference in the game for his girls.
“That [starting strong] was the goal. We wanted to have the team come out hard and ready to go,” Ehler said. “We hit some shots early and that momentum was huge. We had two steals that really set the tone for the game. It was just like a fight. The first who sets the tone will get the upper hand in the game.
Mitchell's full-court press resulted in the Tigers' early lead. In addition, the Tigers were on target from behind the 3-point line as Chalsey Grentz opened the game with a trey and Havannah Newens buried two long-range jumpers.
After Morrill tallied two buckets, Mitchell went on a 9-2 run to lead 26-6 after one period. Mitchell took the 36-13 halftime lead. Grentz and Taylor Peters each connected for 3-pointers in the second stanza.
Mitchell continued playing strong defensively in the third after a 12-0 run to open the period behind eight points from Peters, extending the lead to 48-13, and cruising to the win.
Mitchell placed four players in double figures. Newens paced both teams with 17 points, including two 3-pointers. Peters finished with 13 points, while Aspen Reifschnedier collected 11 points and three 3-pointers. Grentz chipped in 10 points.
Ehler said he ws proud of all the girls in the game. He added that Reifschneider is a sophomore starter that is starting to come into her own.
“Aspen is far from her potential. She is very athletic and she has a knack and a sense for the game,” he said. “I have challenged Aspen in a few situations where she has to understand a few things what we are doing and she will be even better. I am proud of her and the rest of the other girls for battling. No matter win or lose, we will fight to the end of the season.”
Morrill saw eight players hit the scoring column in the contest. Mickayla Schneider paced the team with seven points, followed by Taylor Cooper and Morgan Nortness with six points each.
In the boy's contest, Mitchell jumped out to a 12-2 lead thanks to a strong defensive effort as Adam Schlotthauer and Jamie Fegler buried 3-pointers to bolster the run. Morrill came back to within 16-12 on a Sheldon Le trey, but back-to-back buckets by Nick Harriger got the Tigers back to a 20-12 lead after one.
Morrill got to within single digits just once in the game at 24-15 on a trey by Le. After that bucket, though, Mitchell doubled up the Lions 30-15 and led 36-19 at intermission.
Morrill coach Cody Wallesen said it was a matter of his players not making shots early on.
“We just missed some easy shots early and Mitchell had a ton of second chance points,” he said. “No one can say this kids don't play hard. They played very hard and I am proud of the way they played.”
Mitchell coach Kirk Kuxhausen said the start along with the rebounding were the difference in the game.
“That was our goal to get a quick start because it seems the games we lose we get off to an awful start,” he said. “The last few nights we got off to a good start.”
Rebounding was also huge for the Tigers as McVay and Harriger each had double figure boards of 16 and 10 boards.
“When I had Pieper and Burke in there at the same time that makes a big difference as far as rebounding,” Kuxhausen said. “Nick Harriger did a good job. He had 10 rebounds and eight points so he almost had a double, double. Nick Is kind of quite and he doesn't say a lot. He does a lot of dirty work. Robbie is starting to get his legs and last night [Friday] was his first night playing.”
Fegler's 21 points followed by Schlotthauer with 10 points paced Mitchell. Robbie Burke and Harriger chipped in eight points each for the Tigers.
Morrill was led in scoring by Le with 14 points followed by Jorge Lara and Jacob Ramirez with 11 points each.
Wallesen said his team will be in the thick of things at the end of the year.
“We are a good basketball team. I mean Mitchell is a good basketball team and we didn't play our best tonight and part of that is what they did,” he said. “We are going to get better as the year goes along and the kids have no reason to hang their heads tonight. They played hard and we will be tough at the end of the year.”
Morrill ................. 6 7 7 13 – 33
Mitchell ................. 26 10 17 10 – 63
Mo: Taylor Cooper 6, Megan Fish 3, Brittany Zwiebel 2, Sabrina Austin 4, Madie Schafer 2, Dylainee Peacock 3, Morgan Nortness 6, Mickayla Schneider 7.
Mi: Chalsey Grentz 10, Brianne Hessler 5, Aspen Reifschneider 11, Havannah Newens 17, McKenna Zulkoski 2, Taylor Peters 13, Mikaela Karpen 2, Felina Blanco 3.
Morrill ................. 12 7 15 11 – 47
Mitchell ................. 20 16 14 10 – 60
Mo: Taylor Lackey 6, Sheldon Le 14, Ryan McMackin 3, Jorge Lara 11, Devon Carrizales 2.
Mi: Adam Schlotthauer 10, Bo McVay 6, Jamie Fegler 21, Robbie Burke 8, Alex Morales 5, Nick Harriger 8, Zach Pieper 2.