The Bemidji Lumberjacks continued their late season surge, downing Duluth East 72-68 Monday night in a replay of their Feb. 10 postponement.
The attraction brought out a slim crowd on a snowy evening to see Bemidji out battle the Greyhounds, though not without its anxious moments down the stretch.
A year ago Bemidji had all five starters reach double figures in a 79-77 loss at the hilltop.
Monday four reached that mark with Ryan Telander only a point shy at nine.
The Hounds Division I prospect, junior guard Dyami Starts, lived up to expectations hitting 24 to take game honors including four treys.
Three teammates joined him in the double figures region.
Neither team was ever able to take complete charge though Bemidji seemed to be on the verge for a long period in the second half.
It was a long range battle from the start with the Hounds hitting 10 treys and Bemidji eight.
The Jacks jumped ahead at the outset, moving to an 18- 8 lead midway through the opening stanza,
But East countered with eight to close the lead to a basket and later ran seven straight to go ahead 28-27,
Bemidji went back ahead on two Dan Frost free throws at 31-30 but East countered with treys from Montel Chapman and Starks for a 36-31 advantage.
At this point the Jacks closed out the half with nine to take a 41-36 lead to the break and opened the second half with six more to complete a 15-point run and lead 46-36.
But East would not go away and soon trailed by only four at 48-44 only to see Bemidji continue its long range onslaught to rebuild the margin to 70-58 with three minutes remaining.
But Bemidji grew careless at this point, committing six turnovers down the stretch to allow East to get back in contention.
The Hounds were also helped by the fact that they had committed only two fouls to that point and had four to give before the Jacks found their way to the free throw line.
They got there only once in the last minute of play and failed to connect.
East outscored the home team 10-2 down the stretch. But some key rebounding and a couple of East turnovers kept the visitors at bay and Bemidji held on to win.
East ended its campaign at 13-12.
Bemidji will open section play Thursday at home against Elk River, the No. 5 seed but a far stronger team than that rating. Bemidji was seeded fourth.
Semi final action will shift to St. Cloud State Saturday with the title game at the same site March 19.
Czar Woods led a balanced Bemidji attack with 16. Simon Anderson hit 13,and Ray Walker and Ryan Rude 12.
Nick Toland followed Starks with12 while Matt Florestano had 11 and Johnny Woodard 10.
Bemidji held a strong 43-28 lead off the boards with Telander and Woods claiming seven and Anderson six. Toland cleaned 11 for the losers.
Bemidji ended with 18 turnovers, 11 in the second half. East had only 15.
Bemidji also swept the preliminaries.
The B Team also ended 16-9 with an impressive 87 -64 win, its highest output of the year.
Bemidji led 45-35 at halftime, widened the gap to 55-35 to start the second half, then saw it shrink to seven on several occasions before taking charge once again.
It was Harley Kroening Night for the reserves.
Kroening had a career night with 31 points including nine treys. Carey Woods added 17 and Cody Rutledge came off the bench for 13 more.
Taylor Stafford hit 21 outside and Matt Rogoske 19 inside for the Hounds.
The freshmen also set a season high in a 90-76 racehorse win.
Mitch Hendricks hit 21, J.C. Cervenka 20, Conner Fraley 15 and Trent Baker 12. for Bemidji. Quinton Coleman had 23 and Sean Faerber 18 for East.
The freshmen ended 15-8.