BEMIDJI – The Section 8-4A playoffs begin one week from today and Monday night the Bemidji girls basketball team was trying to build momentum for the post-season.
Instead of generating steam, however, the Lumberjacks took a few steps in the wrong direction as they lost 62-49 at home to St. Cloud Apollo.
“We gave up only 16 points in the first half and then we turn around and give up 46 in the second half,” said a disappointed Jacks head coach Rick Kehoe. “We missed our first eight shots to start the game and we hit only one of 12 free throws in the first half. We still led 23-16 but we should have been ahead by 20 points.
“And in the second half we never got back on defense and we gave up lay-up after lay-up,” the coach continued. “We’ve done many good things this season but this was a step backwards. Where we go from here will be up to the players. The girls will determine how they will remember this season.”
Despite the offensive problems in the first half Bemidji did hold the 23-16 lead at intermission. St. Cloud Apollo, however, chipped away at its deficit and with 11:30 to play in the game the Eagles drew even at 29-29.
A few seconds later Liz Lowery scored on a baseline drive and the visitors were on top 31-30.
The teams exchanged the lead six times during the next three minutes but with 7:46 to play St. Cloud Apollo pulled away.
Melissa Gebhardt converted a pair of free throws to give the visitors a 40-39 advantage and those points sparked a 10-0 run that gave the Eagles a 49-39 cushion.
With three minutes to play BHS closed its gap to 53-48 as Jess Yost converted an inbounds pass and a free throw and Jessa Lusby hit from the paint.
But the Lumberjacks would come no closer as St. Cloud Apollo iced the win with a 3-pointer by Katrina Johnson, two Notch free throws and Johnson’s fast-break hoop.
Yost was the lone Lumberjack in double figures with 16 points. Kelsey Olson scored nine and Lusby seven.
Bemidji will end its regular season at home 7:30 p.m. Thursday against Grand Rapids. The Jacks will be on the road Tuesday for the quarterfinals of the section tournament. Where they will head will be determined Friday or Saturday following the coaches’ seeding meeting.
St. Cloud Apollo (62): Babic 2, 0-0, 5; Johnson 5, 1-2, 12; Notch 4, 5-6, 13; Steve 1, 0-2, 2; Lowery 6, 0-0, 12; Geghardt 7, 3-3, 18. Totals: 25, 9-13, 62
Bemidji (49): Lusby 4, 0-3, 8; Greendahl 3, 1-2, 7; Olson 4, 1-6, 9; Yost 6, 4-6, 16; Gronhovd 2, 1-2, 7; Palmer 1, 0-2, 2; Steever 0, 0-2, 0; Myhra 0, 0-0, 0. Totals: 20, 7-23, 49
3-point FG: Apollo 3, Bemidji 2 (Gronhovd 2)
Fouls: Apollo 18, Bemidji 13
Halftime: Bemidji 23, Apollo 16