The Bemidji High girls basketball team survived one of its tightest tests of the year Saturday, holding off East Grand Forks 73-64.
The match-up of two of the area's top teams, drew a crowed of around 600 fans who witnessed a tightly fought contest into the closing moments.
Bemidji alternately took and lost several sizable leads through the game until it reached 60-60 with less than three minutes to play.
Then an eight point run opened some breathing room and a closing string of five widened the margin to its final nine.
It was a match-up of Division I centers. Bemidji's Kayla Hirt, Minnesota bound, hit 28 while UND prospect Kate Warmack netted 26.
Junior Chelsea Frydenlund, saddled with second half foul problems, added 15 including four treys.
Kelsey Heisler hit 12, Erika Weimann 11 and Kenzie Kane nine in a balanced Bemidji attack behind Hirt.
Bemidji hurt its chances with 21 turnovers which allowed the Wave to stay within hailing distance all day.
That overrode a 54-3 Bemidji bulge off the boards.
The home team seemed ready to take charge at the start, moving to a 17-8 lead in the opening eight minutes fueled by an eight point run that extended a 4-3 advantage and a following run of five to expand the lead to nine.
But East Side erupted for the next eight points to come within one and eventually tied the score at 27-all late in the stanza.
Bemidji closed with a 9-4 run that included a Weimann trey to lead at halftime 36-31.
Warmack had 18 at this point and Frydenlund eight,
Weimann's nine paced Bemidji with Hirt and Kenzie Kane each netting seven.
The home team opened the second half with the first six points expanding the lead to 42-31 and again seemed on its way.
It was still comfortably ahead 46-36 when the Wave began another comeback.
It trailed 51-47 when Bemidji braced and moved back in front 56-49 midway through the stanza.
But again the Wave battled back with Brooke Greenwood and Trish Lewis joining the scoring parade.
A trey by Lewis and Warmack's inside bucket knotted the count at 60-60.
Hirt's basket and free throws by Selina Gilbertson and Hirt started the winning rally. Hirt added another basket and Kane two free throws and suddenly it was 68-60.
But the winners still could not breath easily as baskets by Warmack and Frydendlund had the lead down to four before an Abby Hendricks basket and three free throws sealed the game.
Hirt cleared 11 boards and Jess Yost seven for Bemidji, Warmack had nine to lead the Wave.
East Side ended with 20 turnovers in a game that had more than its share of ball handling mistakes on both sides.
Bemidji reached 17-1 with the win and heads to Moorhead Thursday before returning home for the feature match-up with Alexandria Saturday afternoon.