BEMIDJI – The initiation to Minnesota Class 3A basketball for the new Bemidji High School players and coaching staff is complete and two games into the season head coach Dan Ninham is, overall, pleased with what he saw.
“We’re competitive and that was one of our goals,” Ninham said after the Lumberjacks dropped a 94-85 decision to St. Cloud Cathedral in the final game of the weekend’s Woods and Lakes Classic at the BHS gym.
“We want an up-tempo game and that is what we played. Friday we faced a quality opponent in East Grand Forks and lost 74-73. Saturday, St. Cloud Cathedral probably thought they were going to take it to us but we were very competitive.”
As was the case Friday night BHS led most of Saturday’s game but it never could extend the advantage to a comfortable margin.
The Crusaders were able to stay within shouting distance and with 6:20 to play they took control. Brady Schmit’s 3-pointer vaulted the visitors to a 75-74 cushion and a 7-0 run down the stretch iced St. Cloud Cathedral’s win.
“I think our inability to hold the lead down the stretch was more a case of non-execution than our inexperience,” Ninham said. “And some of our kids are playing almost the entire game and I think they were getting tired.
“Connor McNallan and Richard Seado are two of our core players on both ends of the court and right now we need them to play almost the entire game,” Ninham continued. “Billy Baumgartner is another player who has to be in most of the time and by the end of the game they needed some rest.”
Because of Bemidji’s fast-pace brand of basketball, sneaking in a few extra breaths during the action is not an option. Saturday’s game was a mirror image of Friday’s contest as both teams emphasized continual ball pressure and constant movement up and down the court.
“I don’t want us to be a run-and-gun team. I want us to be a run-and-score team,” Ninham said. “We need to be aggressive trappers and interceptors because that sets up our scoring opportunities.”
Bemidji had four players reach double figures, including Seado who paced the offense with 29 points. McNallan added 16, Jeremiah Huseby 12 and James Hendricks 11.
“Jeremiah is playing tough basketball,” Ninham said. “He played very well Saturday. And James is a young guy who needs to see more playing time.
“We’re a growing team and we are growing together,” the coach continued. “We want to make improvements every day and I can see that we are doing that. Overall, this weekend I saw more positives than negatives.”
The Lumberjacks continue their five-game homestand to begin the winter on Friday when they host Rogers at 7:30 p.m. On Dec. 15 St. Michael-Albertville will visit for a 4:30 p.m. game.
Notes: In Saturday’s other tournament game Grand Rapids downed East Grand Forks 64-54. St. Cloud Cathedral finished 2-0 while East Grand Forks and Grand Rapids were 1-1 and Bemidji 0-2 … McNallan and Seado represented BHS on the all-tournament team. Joining them were Schmit and Brady Yoerg of St. Cloud Cathedral, Alex Illikainen and A.J. Watland of Grand Rapids plus Jim Warmack and Austin Holy of East Grand Forks.
St. Cloud Cathedral (94): Braegelmann 0, 2-3, 4, 2; Theisen 5, 1-1, 3 12; Neutzling 0,3-4, 3, 2; O’Hagan 3, 0-0, 3, 9; Burt 2, 0-0, 1, 5; Schmit 9, 5-7, 1, 27; Yoerg 10, 3-4, 2, 23; Voss 4, 5-9, 4, 13. Totals: 33, 19-28, 21, 94
Bemidji (85): Baumgartner 1, 0-0, 2, 2; McNallan 6, 4-5, 2, 16; Strong 2, 0-1, 1, 6; Ingals 2, 0-1, 3, 4; Seado 8, 8-10, 4, 29; Hendricks 4, 0-0, 3, 11; R.Misco 0, 0-0, 4, 0; J.Misco 2, 1-2, 5, 5; Huseby 5, 1-2, 3, 12
Halftime: Bemidji 41, St. Cloud Cathedral 40
3-point FG: St. Cloud Cathedral 9, Bemidji 11 (Strong 2, Seado 5, Hendricks 3, Huseby 1)