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Bemidji's Ryan Rude attempts a shot in Thursday's game. Pioneer?Photo/Monte?Draper
Bemidji's Ryan Rude attempts a shot in Thursday's game. Pioneer?Photo/Monte?Draper

Bemidji HS boys basketball team falls to Duluth East in battle of state powers

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sports Bemidji, 56619

Bemidji Minnesota P.O. Box 455 56619

Duluth East headed to Bemidji Thursday night ranked No. 9 in the state Class 4A division and all who seriously follow Minnesota high school basketball have heard of the Greyhounds' star player Johnny Woodard.

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The Lumberjacks, led by Carey Woods, have had a successful campaign as well and entered Thursday's contest rated eighth in the Class 3A poll.

Fans were expecting a see-saw battle Thursday and for 12 minutes that's what they enjoyed. Eventually, however, Duluth East pulled away and the visitors coasted to an 86-66 victory.

Woodard lived up to his billing as the 6-4 all-around player scored 34 points. His teammate, guard Taylor Stafford, also had a stellar night as he wormed his way through and around Bemidji's defense for 26 points.

Woods, who scored a school-record 52 points Tuesday at Grand Forks Central, finished with 30 points and Cody Rutledge scored 13 but none of their teammates managed more than eight.

"I was disappointed with our lack of execution. I don't think we came out ready to go," said Lumberjacks coach Jeff Brown whose team fell to 16-3. "East outworked us, especially on the boards, and that is something we need to work on."

As has been the custom of late, BHS faced a distinct size disadvantage. At 6-4 Woodard is taller than all but two Lumberjacks and his height, combined with a soaring vertical leap, was impossible to contain.

The visitors also employed 6-7 center Matt Rogotzke, 6-6 forward Ian Nelson and 6-5 forward Matt Lochner and their inside presence limited Bemidji to one shot per possession.

Early in the game Nelson and Bemidji guard Mitch Brown collided while Brown drove the lane. Nelson sustained a broken nose and did not return while Brown suffered a bruised thigh and was very limited in what he could do the rest of the way.

Both injuries impacted the rest of the game and Brown's absence forced his coach to make assignment adjustments.

"With Mitch unavailable we had to move Ryan (Rude) to the point and that changed our offensive sets," Jeff Brown said. "But, overall, what hurt is us that East did a great job of being more aggressive than we were."

BHS was within 22-21 with six minutes to play in the opening half but Woodward and Stafford keyed a 7-0 spurt to put the Greyhounds on top 29-21. At intermission Duluth East upped its lead to double figures at 40-29.

In the second stanza the Jacks closed within 44-37 but Stafford and Woodard answered with buckets to extend the margin to 48-37.

And Bemidji never threatened again.

"East (15-5) is one of the top teams in the state and we purposely schedule teams of this caliber," Brown said. "We want to find out what we need to work on and tonight we learned we have a great deal of work to do."

BHS returns to duty Saturday at Alexandria when it plays the back half of a girls-boys doubleheader. The girls cagers will open the varsity action at 6 p.m. and the boys game will follow.

Duluth East (86): Coleman 0, 0-0, 0; Royseth 0, 0-0, 0; Stafford 11, 0-1, 26; Patnode 0, 0-0, 0; Moe 0, 0-0, 0; Woodard 13, 7-9, 34; Rogotzke 0, 0-0, 0; Lochner 5, 1-2, 11; Nelson 0, 0-0, 0; Coleman 5, 1-2, 11; Cigalio 1, 2-2, 4. Totals: 35, 11-16, 86

Bemidji (66): Hengel 1, 2-2, 5; Rude 4, 0-3, 8; Kroening 0, 0-2, 0; Rutledge 5, 3-4, 13; Brown 0, 3-4, 3; Woods 10, 6-8, 30; Cervenka 0, 2-2, 2; Vonasek 0, 1-2, 1; Richardson 1, 0-0, 2; Declusin 0, 2-2, 2; Sullivan 0, 0-0, 0. Totals: 21, 19-29, 66

Fouls: Duluth East 22, Bemidji 13

Halftime: Duluth East 40, Bemidji 29

Junior Varsity

Duluth East (64): Hubbard 1, 0-2, 3; Dedominces 3, 1-2, 7; Ladd 1, 2-2, 4; Olson 0, 1-2, 1; Lochner 4, 1-2, 9; Henderson 5, 3-6, 13; Coleman 5, 2-4, 12; Rowe 2, 0-1, 5; Williams 2, 6-11, 10. Totals: 23, 16-32, 64

Bemidji (62): Fodness 2, 0-0, 4; Rainey 3, 2-2, 8; Fairbanks 3, 0-1, 8; Cervenka 3, 0-0, 6; Hovila 0, 1-2, 1; Sherk 1, 0-0, 2; McNallan 1, 0-0, 2; Declusin 2, 0-0, 4; Misco 3, 0-1, 6; Mills 2, 3-4, 8; Sullivan 6, 1-1, 13. Totals: 26, 7-11, 62

Fouls: Duluth East 17, Bemidji 25

Halftime: Bemidji 37, Duluth East 29

Freshman Game

Bemidji 71, Duluth East 59

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