ROGERS – Bemidji rallied from a nine-point halftime deficit, but couldn’t hang on for the full 36 minutes.
No. 2-seed Rogers pulled away with a 12-3 run over the final four-plus minutes to escape with a 53-45 win over seventh-seeded Bemidji in their Section 8-4A quarterfinal matchup Tuesday night.
“I’m disappointed in the result, but I’m proud of the girls tonight,” BHS head coach Rick Kehoe said. “We drove four hours to play a team that beat us pretty bad last time and gave them all we had.”
Rogers beat Bemidji 66-31 in the last meeting between the two teams, but this time the Lumberjacks (8-18) held their own against the Royals (18-9) the entire game.
BHS grabbed an early 8-4 lead and the teams were tied at 8-8 midway through the first half.
The Royals looked like they were going to pull away late in the half, going on a 10-3 run in the final five minutes of the first frame to take a 26-14 lead.
However, a 3-pointer by Suzanne Myhra at the buzzer cut Rogers’ lead to single digits, 26-17, going into halftime.
That 3 helped spark the Lumberjacks coming out of the locker room.
Bemidji slowly chipped away, eventually cutting Rogers’ lead to 33-31 with 10:30 to go.
“We played good defense in the second half,” Kehoe said. “We hit our first two or three buckets to get within four, and from there it was a dogfight.”
Trailing 40-38, Jess Yost hit a pair of foul shots with 7:04 to go that tied the game at 40-all.
On Bemidji’s next trip down, Yost hit 1-of-2 from the line to give the Lumberjacks their first lead of the half at 41-40.
The teams exchanged leads for the next two minutes, but Yost’s layup with 4:35 remaining gave the Lumberjacks what would be their last lead of the game at 43-42.
Rogers’ Taylor Paulstad hit a 3 on the next trip downcourt to give the Royals a 45-43 lead, and Rogers went on an 8-2 run to close out the game.
Yost led Bemidji with 11 points – all in the second half. She was held scoreless in the first half.
Kelsey Olson and Casey Palmer also shined for the Lumberjacks, scoring 10 points apiece.
The Royals had only one player in double figures – Lindsay Dorr with 12 – but seven other players got on the board, including two players with eight points, one with seven, one with six and two with five.
The Lumberjacks, who started the season 0-8, finished the season with an 8-18 record. Kehoe said he’s proud of where they are now compared to where they started.
“Considering where we came from, and where we’re at now, this is one of the teams I’m most proud of,” he said. “It was a good end to the season despite the loss.”
Bemidji (45) – Lusby 1 1-2 3; Myhra 1 0-1 3; Greendahl 3 0-1 6; Olson 3 3-6 10; Yost 3 5-8 11; Palmer 3 4-4 10; Steever 1 0-0 2. Totals 15 13-21 45.
Rogers (53) – Heikkenen 1 2-2 5; Frain 3 0-0 8; Anderson 0 2-6 2; Darr 3 0-1 8; Paulstad 1 2-3 5; McClay 3 0-0 7; Nowak 3 0-0 6; Dorr 5 2-2 12. Totals 19 8-14 53.
3-point goals – Bemidji 1, Rogers 7.
Halftime Score – Rogers 26, Bemidji 17