Bluejackets beaten in opening sectional round by Paoli 48-29

By Noah Dalton

BICKNELL – Mitchell High School’s 2023-24 campaign ended on Tuesday night, as the Bluejackets were bested 48-29 in the opening round of sectional play by a familiar foe, Patoka Lake Atheltic Conference opponent Paoli.

Tuesday’s showdown was a rematch of a prior meeting between the two teams from Jan. 16, where the Rams emerged victorious 49-38.

The story of that game was a huge third quarter from Paoli, where they outscored Mitchell 15-4, which proved to be the difference in an otherwise narrowly contested matchup.

Their postseason meeting played out a bit differently.

Jillian Bond looks to score against multiple Paoli defenders

The Rams largely kept pace with their performance in the previous game, scoring 17 in the first half, just one shy of what they’d been able to do last time. The Bluejackets struggled from the floor early on, posting just 10 by the end of the first half after shooting just 22% across the first two quarters.

Perhaps the most pertinent statistic of the first half for Mitchell though was related to their free throw shooting, with the Bluejackets largely unable to capitalize on nine first half attempts at the stripe, connecting on just one.

Things began to somewhat look up for Mitchell in the third, as they more-than doubled their entire first half total, scoring 11 in the third on 40% shooting, connecting on both of their attempts from the line as well. Unfortunately for the Bluejackets, Paoli also posted their strongest offensive quarter of the game, scoring 15, behind four made threes to further extend their lead.

Anna Sowders brings the ball up the floor for Mitchell

The Rams, led by Lilly Hall, who scored a game-high 18 points, and Carly Higgins, who added 13, carried their momentum through the fourth to punch their ticket to the next round, where they’ll face Linton-Stockton (18-6) on Friday at 6 p.m. at North Knox.

“Maybe we could’ve done them things differently as far as how we guarded them. Maybe we could’ve went to a different zone, but at the end of the day you’ve got to make shots. They did. We struggled from the field at times tonight. I think in the first half we went 1-9 from the free throw line. We’ve gotta hit shots at the end of the day,” said Bluejackets’ head coach Dakota Brasher.

“The only way you get really comfortable and confident is by putting in work and they don’t shy away from it. My girls aren’t gonna shy away from it. We’re gonna put in the work and we’re just gonna keep getting better. That’s the only way that’s the only way to turn around after a 1-22 season. It’s by getting in the gym and getting better.”

Mitchell’s Briley Dicks passes to an open defender

Mitchell’s top scorer on the night was senior Jillian Bond, who finished with 15 points. She was aided by fellow senior Briley Dicks, who scored five and Leighann Thompson, who had four.

With that loss, the Bluejackets close their season, Brasher’s first with a program, with a final record of 1-23.

Having graduated their top two scorers from the previous season and introducing a new head coach in Brasher, the program had hit the “reset” button at the start of the season in many ways, introducing a largely new, younger roster.

Leighann Thompson pushes the pace in transition

Though they struggled at points this year, Brasher looks forward to the future, saying he’s excited to see how his team progresses over the course of the next 10 months or so before they open the next season.

“The record doesn’t show it, but the progress and how much we have gotten better over the course of 23 games has been unbelievable. From fundamental basketball, to the defense and being able to play team defense, communicating and not being not being selfish on the defensive end of the floor, and thinking about the other four girls that are out there. That culture has been set. And it’s been set from the jump,” he said.

“We went 1-22 this year. Most coaches would not be excited to start in the fall. I told them that I cannot wait to get back in the gym and start working, because we are very close to being over the hump.”



  • Jillian Bond: 15 points, 5/14 shooting, 5/9 FT, 7 rebounds
  • Briley Dicks: 5 points, 2/5 shooting, 0/0 FT, 3 rebounds
  • Leighann Thompson: 4 points, 2/7 shooting, 0/2 FT, 8 rebounds
  • Anna Sowders: 2 points, 1/4 shooting, 0/2 FT, 0 rebounds
  • Paisley Modglin: 3 points, 1/7 shooting, 0/0 FT, 1 rebound
  • Jorja Lamm: 0 points, 0/2 shooting, 0/0 FT, 1 rebound


  • Carley Higgins: 13 points, 5/10 shooting, 2/4 FT, 8 rebounds
  • Lilly Hall: 18 points, 6/9 shooting, 2/2 FT, 2 rebounds
  • Jericho Hopper: 4 points, 1/7 shooting, 2/2 FT, 9 rebounds
  • Maddie Vernon: 3 points, 1/7 shooting, 0/2 FT, 3 rebounds
  • Anna Radcliff: 8 points, 3/6 shooting, 0/2 FT, 5 rebounds
  • Avery Crews: 2 points, 1/2 shooting, 0/0 FT, 2 rebounds