MITCHELL — A strong showing on the defensive end of the floor helped Huron, which is ranked No. 3 in Class AA, as it cruised to a 53-39 victory against Mitchell on Saturday at the Corn Palace.
The Tigers, who improved to 5-1, used that defensive intensity to get off to a quick start and led 21-7 after the opening quarter.
“You come down to the Corn Palace and the record doesn’t matter, this is Huron vs. Mitchell and its a rivalry game,” Schouten said. “They are jacked and want to get their first win and get moving on the year, so we knew the environment was going to be rocking. The girls game was a close one for a long time, so for our guys to come out the way they did – focused — was big.”
The Kernels, who had lost their first five games including a set back at Huron Arena in the opener, rebounded a bit in the second quarter. The Tigers carried a 28-17 lead into the break.
“After the first couple weeks of practice we knew the offensive skill was there. We have a lot of guys with offensive ability, so for us the ticket was going to be at the defensive end,” Schouten said. “Right now these kids have really bought in. At practice in the groups we get to go against they give us good looks. Shout out to all our bench guys and guys that aren’t on the varsity roster helping out at practice, so our kids understand what it is going to take and the defensive side of it is where we need to shine.”
A quick start in the second allowed Huron to regain the momentum it had generated during the strong first quarter.
“Against Roosevelt last week we didn’t feel like we got off to a good start. Even in the second half against Roosevelt we got down four or five right away again,” Schouten said. “So the quick start was an emphasis for us tonight.”
The Tigers stretched their advantage to 43-27 heading into the final quarter.
Mitchell managed to narrow its deficit to 13 points at 47-34 on a 3-pointer by Gavyn Degen, but that’s as close as it would get as Huron amped up the energy down the stretch.
An offensive rebound and a dunk by Teegan Evers fueled the final flurry for the Tigers. Two possessions later Evers hammered another dunk home on a pass at the rim by Kobe Busch.
“Some of that stuff you can’t teach it. Kobe has good floor vision and so for him to throw that pass and get the timing right you can’t script it,” Schouten said. “He knew Teegan was coming, he told me he was thinking about back boarding it but at the last second he wasn’t running hard enough so I had to let up and he did and to Teegan’s credit he caught it and he thunder-dunked that thing.
“Cooper (Fryberger) came up with a great defensive play on that play to ignite it. He had great presence of mind, he came up and his eyes were down the floor. He saw Kobe and the rest is history,” he said. “The defensive end is where it all needs to start.”
Busch would finish with a game-high 19 points for the Tigers. He would also lead the team with three assists and four steals.
Evers also reached double figures for Huron with 16 points, while Nathan Boehrns and Fryberger added seven and six points, respectively.
Boehrns also hauled down 13 rebounds for the Tigers.
Carter Jacobsen and Zane Alm led Mitchell with 10 points each. Caden Hinker and Degen finished with seven and six points, respectively.
Alm had 10 boards for the Kernels, while Hinker had three steals.
Mitchell defeated Huron 41-24 in the junior varsity game and 54-37 in the freshmen game.
The Tigers will be back in action Tuesday, when it hosts Brookings in a 7 p.m. Game at Huron Arena.
Huron 21 28 43 53
Mitchell 7 17 27 39
Huron (5-1): Landon Hegg 1-4 0-0 2, Hayden Hegg 1-3 0-0 2, Kler Hae 0-1 0-0 0, Cooper Fryberger 3-4 0-0 6, Teegan Evers 7-12 1-3 16, Kobe Busch 7-17 2-2 19, Nathan Boehrns 3-9 0-1 7, Derick Siemonsma 00-1 1-4 1. Totals 22-51 4-10 53.
Mitchell (0-6): Gavyn Degen 2-3 0-0 6, Macon Larson 1-3 0-0 3, Caden Hinker 1-12 4-4 7, Ben Helleloid 0-4 1-2 1, Carter Jacobsen 3-11 4-5 10, Ryley Johansen 1-1 0-0 2, Jonah Schmidt 0-0 0-0 0, Zane Alm 5-14 0-0 10. Totals 13-48 9-11 39.
3-point field goals: H 5-23 (Busch 3-10, Evers 1-4, Boehrns 1-4, H.Hegg 0-2, L.Hegg 0-2), M 4-15 (Degen 2-3, Larson 1-2, Hinker 1-6, Jacobsen 0-1, Helleloid 0-3). Rebounds: H 30 (Boehrns 13), M 36 (Alm 10). Assists: H 4 (Busch 3), M 6 (Six players with 1). Steals: H 12 (Busch 4), M 4 (Hinker 3). Blocked shots: H 1 (Busch), M 2 (Alm, Hinker). Total fouls: H 16, M 17. Turnovers: H 9, M 17.