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Bemidji's Zach Declusin takes a feed under the basket for two against Grand Rapids defender Austin Pohlen on Tuesday evening. Pioneer Photo/Monte Draper
Bemidji's Zach Declusin takes a feed under the basket for two against Grand Rapids defender Austin Pohlen on Tuesday evening. Pioneer Photo/Monte Draper

Bemidji HS boys basketball: Jacks hang tough in OT to beat Grand Rapids

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sports Bemidji, 56619

Bemidji Minnesota P.O. Box 455 56619

All winter the Bemidji boys basketball team has been able to score from just about anywhere on the court and continually pad the scoreboard.

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Tuesday against Grand Rapids, however, baskets and successful free throws were hard to come by as the defenses rose to the occasion for both teams.

The Lumberjacks eventually overcame their shooting woes and made enough free throws down the stretch to escape Grand Rapids 63-58 in overtime.

"I thought we played a good game and defensively it was one of our better efforts," said BHS coach Jeff Brown whose team improved to 13-1. "Grand Rapids is a good team, is well coach and plays hard. This is the type of game that we expected."

Open looks were tough to come by for either team but when the teams found an uncontested route to the bucket, they still had trouble converting.

At intermission the Lumberjacks owned a 22-20 advantage but everyone in the BHS gym was hoping that Bemidji would find its shooting eyes in the second stanza.

"I think both teams were tight at the beginning and for a while the defenses controlled the play," Brown said. "There was a time when neither team could make a shot but I think that is a credit to the defenses."

Cody Rutledge returned to the floor after missing a few weeks with a broken foot and he made an impact at the start of the second half, scoring Bemidji's first eight points and lifting the Jacks to a 30-23 cushion.

The home team extended its advantage to 33-25 after a Ryan Rude free throw but the Thunderhawks stayed within reach the entire half.

Bemidji could have put the victory away in the final minute but four consecutive missed free throws set the table for Austin Pohlen's tying 3-pointer with 16 seconds to play.

BHS was unable to manufacture a good shot on the final possession of regulation and the teams were tied 51-51 going into overtime.

Carey Woods' drive, Rude's free throw and a Rude bucket to cap a fast break provided a 56-51 Bemidji lead and the Lumberjacks sealed the deal with Woods' 15-footer and free throws by Rude, Mitch Brown and Rutledge.

"We've been pretty lucky throughout the year because we've shot well but Grand Rapids played tough defense on us and made it difficult for our offense," the coach said. "But we were able to make our shots down the stretch and that was the difference."

Woods finished with 28 points and Rutledge added 15. Pohlen had 28 for the Thunderhawks.

Grand Rapids (58): Sutherland 3, 1-2, 8; Bibeau 0, 0-0, 0;Skelly 0, 0-0, 0; Pohlen 13, 5-6, 28; Illikainen 5, 1-2, 11; Bender 1, 0-0, 2; Anderson 1, 0-0, 2; Spoden 2, 0-0, 4; Laughlin 1, 0-0, 3. Totals: 23, 7-10, 58

Bemidji: Hengel 1, 0-0, 2; Rude 1, 3-10, 5; Kroening 0, 0-1, 0; Rutledge 5, 5-13, 15; Brown 0, 6-6, 6; Woods 10, 5-7, 28; Vonasek 0, 0-0, 0; Richardson 1, 1-4, 3; Declusin 2, 0-0, 4. Totals: 17, 20-41, 63

Fouls: Grand Rapids 27, Bemidji 16

Halftime: Bemidji 22, Grand Rapids 20

Regulation: Bemidji 51, Grand Rapids 51

Junior Varsity

Grand Rapids (32): Leslie 1, 0-0, 3; Nicklason 0, 2-2, 2; Lewis 1, 0-0, 2; Hopkins 1, 0-0, 2; Gill 2, 0-0, 5; Liebe 1, 4-7, 7; Laughlin 1, 1-3, 4; Smokrovich 3, 0-2, 7. Totals: 10, 7-14, 32

Bemidji (51): Baumgartner 0, 0-0, 0; Fodness 3, 0-0, 6; Rainey 4, 0-0, 8; Supalla 3, 2-5, 9; Fairbanks 1, 0-0, 2; Seado 1, 0-0, 2; Cervenka 2, 0-0, 4; Hovilla 0, 2-2, 2; McNallan 1, 0-0, 2; Misco 1, 0-0, 2; Mills 1, 1-2, 3; Sullivan 4, 3-3, 11. Totals: 21, 8-14, 51

Fouls: Grand Rapids 16, Bemidji 21

Halftime: Bemidji 25, Grand Rapids 12

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