GRAND RAPIDS – Even without Alex Illikainen, Grand Rapids showed Bemidji why they’re a state-ranked basketball team.
AJ Watland stepped up for a career-high 34 points as the Thunderhawks, the No. 10 team in Class 3A, topped the Lumberjacks 72-44 Thursday night.
Bemidji (2-20) kept up for a time with the Thunderhawks, but turnovers doomed them from the start.
Grand Rapids (17-6) jumped out to a quick 11-4 lead in the first three minutes of action. The Lumberjacks had trouble getting shots to fall and trailed 36-19 at halftime.
In the second half, BHS let Grand Rapids go on a 19-10 run in the first nine minutes of play and work up an even bigger lead. The teams worked with a running clock for much of the half and the Lumberjacks lost 72-44.
For the Lumberjacks, Richard Seado led the way with 13 points while Jeramiah Huseby was the only other player in double figures with 10 points.
The Lumberjacks return to action Monday when they’ll travel to Thief River Falls.
Bemidji (44) – Seado 13; Hueby 10; Bruns 9, Hendricks 4, Baumgardner 3, Ingalls 2, Misco 2, Strong 1.
Grand Rapids (72) – Watland 34, Gill 10, Elhard 9, Rodenberg 6, Reitter 4, Shields 4, Smokrovich, Margo 2.
Halftime Score: Grand Rapids 36, Bemidji 19