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Lumberjacks remain on target for top seed

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sports Bemidji, 56619

Bemidji Minnesota P.O. Box 455 56619

Earning the top seed in the 8-3A tournament is the goal of the Bemidji boys basketball team but to do that the Lumberjacks need to run the table, starting with Saturday's home game against Willmar.

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BHS successfully took the first step toward that goal when it disposed of the Cardinals 73-56. Still on the horizon are Thursday's game at Grand Rapids and home games against Thief River Falls on March 1 and Detroit Lakes on March 4.

"Right now we would be ranked No. 1 in the section but if we want to keep the top seed we can't afford another loss," said Bemidji coach Jeff Brown whose team improved to 19-3 with Saturday's victory.

Willmar entered the game with a 12-8 record and both teams employed similar styles, including pressure defenses and attacking offenses.

The result was a game that lacked tempo and, although BHS led throughout the contest, a victory wasn't assured until the final few minutes.

"I think the flow of the game was broken because both teams were pressing most of the way," Brown said. "It's hard to get a flow going when you are constantly adjusting to the pressure defense and having to do the extra work to get the ball up the floor and work the offense."

Bemidji used an 8-0 run, fueled by 3-pointers by Carey Woods and Ryan Rude, to forge a 15-8 advantage with 13:42 to play in the opening half.

The visitors rallied within 17-15 but BHS countered with a 9-1 spurt to regain control.

By intermission the Lumberjacks owned a 38-28 lead and seemingly had things under control.

Woods had 19 points at the break and Rude eight.

In the second stanza, however, the Cardinals stayed within shouting distance early on and drew within 49-44 with 7:50 to play.

Bemidji was in the midst of a drought that saw the Jacks manage only two points during the previous six minutes.

The skid was broken, however, when Ben Hengel drained a 3-pointer. Following Hengel's bucket BHS employed the press and the result was two quick Willmar turnovers, four Bemidji points and a lead that once again stretched to double figures at 56-46.

"Our press worked well for us," Brown said. "I don't think we had our usual spark but we fought through that and I thought we played well.

"There were many positives we can take from this game."

Woods finished with 31 points while Rude scored 12, Rutledge 10 and Grant Richardson nine.

Willmar (56): Esboldt 3, 22, 8; Schendel 7, 1-2, 19; Unger 6, 2-4, 16; Rambow 0, 2-3, 2; Olson 0, 2-2, 2; Mohamud 0, 0-0, 0; Lawler 0, 0-0, 0; Damhof 3, 3-6, 9; Grove 0, 0-0, 0. Totals: 19, 13-19, 56

Bemidji (73): Hengel 1, 0-0, 3; Rude 5, 1-3, 12; Kroening 0, 0-2, 0; Rutledge 5, 0-2, 10; Brown 1, 2-2, 4; Woods 12, 2-2, 31; Vonasek 0, 0-0, 0; Richardson 2, 5-6, 9; Declusin 0, 2-2, 2; Cervenka 1, 0-0, 2. Totals: 27, 12-19, 73

Fouls: Willmar 17, Bemidji 15

Halftime: Bemidji 38, Willmar 28

Junior Varsity

Willmar (69): Stier 1, 0-0, 2; Olson 3, 4-4, 10; Mohamed 2, 2-2, 6; Halverson 2, 0-1, 6; Zuidema 3, 8-10, 14; Ruter 2, 1-2, 7; Grove 4, 0-1, 11; Heitzman 3, 2-2, 9; Suedbeck 2, 0-0, 4. Totals: 22, 17-22, 69

Bemidji (52): Fodness 2, 0-0, 5; Baumgartner 1, 0-0, 2; Supalla 1, 1-2, 3; Cervenka 3, 1-2, 7; Sherk 1, 0-0, 3; McNallan 3, 1-6, 7; Declusin 0, 0-0, 0; Misco 2, 0-0, 4; Mills 2, 2-4, 6; Sullivan 7, 1-1, 15; Hovila 0, 0-0, 0. Totals: 22, 6-15, 52

Fouls: Willmar 15, Bemidji 17

Halftime: Willmar 32, Bemidji 28

Freshmen Game

Bemidji 62, Willmar 48

Y pmiller@bemidjipioneer.com

Earning the top seed in the 8-3A tournament is the goal of the Bemidji boys basketball team but to do that the Lumberjacks need to run the table, starting with Saturday's home game against Willmar.

BHS successfully took the first step toward that goal when it disposed of the Cardinals 73-56. Still on the horizon are Thursday's game at Grand Rapids and home games against Thief River Falls on March 1 and Detroit Lakes on March 4.

"Right now we would be ranked No. 1 in the section but if we want to keep the top seed we can't afford another loss," said Bemidji coach Jeff Brown whose team improved to 19-3 with Saturday's victory.

Willmar entered the game with a 12-8 record and both teams employed similar styles, including pressure defenses and attacking offenses.

The result was a game that lacked tempo and, although BHS led throughout the contest, a victory wasn't assured until the final few minutes.

"I think the flow of the game was broken because both teams were pressing most of the way," Brown said. "It's hard to get a flow going when you are constantly adjusting to the pressure defense and having to do the extra work to get the ball up the floor and work the offense."

Bemidji used an 8-0 run, fueled by 3-pointers by Carey Woods and Ryan Rude, to forge a 15-8 advantage with 13:42 to play in the opening half.

The visitors rallied within 17-15 but BHS countered with a 9-1 spurt to regain control.

By intermission the Lumberjacks owned a 38-28 lead and seemingly had things under control.

Woods had 19 points at the break and Rude eight.

In the second stanza, however, the Cardinals stayed within shouting distance early on and drew within 49-44 with 7:50 to play.

Bemidji was in the midst of a drought that saw the Jacks manage only two points during the previous six minutes.

The skid was broken, however, when Ben Hengel drained a 3-pointer. Following Hengel's bucket BHS employed the press and the result was two quick Willmar turnovers, four Bemidji points and a lead that once again stretched to double figures at 56-46.

"Our press worked well for us," Brown said. "I don't think we had our usual spark but we fought through that and I thought we played well.

"There were many positives we can take from this game."

Woods finished with 31 points while Rude scored 12, Rutledge 10 and Grant Richardson nine.

Willmar (56): Esboldt 3, 22, 8; Schendel 7, 1-2, 19; Unger 6, 2-4, 16; Rambow 0, 2-3, 2; Olson 0, 2-2, 2; Mohamud 0, 0-0, 0; Lawler 0, 0-0, 0; Damhof 3, 3-6, 9; Grove 0, 0-0, 0. Totals: 19, 13-19, 56

Bemidji (73): Hengel 1, 0-0, 3; Rude 5, 1-3, 12; Kroening 0, 0-2, 0; Rutledge 5, 0-2, 10; Brown 1, 2-2, 4; Woods 12, 2-2, 31; Vonasek 0, 0-0, 0; Richardson 2, 5-6, 9; Declusin 0, 2-2, 2; Cervenka 1, 0-0, 2. Totals: 27, 12-19, 73

Fouls: Willmar 17, Bemidji 15

Halftime: Bemidji 38, Willmar 28

Junior Varsity

Willmar (69): Stier 1, 0-0, 2; Olson 3, 4-4, 10; Mohamed 2, 2-2, 6; Halverson 2, 0-1, 6; Zuidema 3, 8-10, 14; Ruter 2, 1-2, 7; Grove 4, 0-1, 11; Heitzman 3, 2-2, 9; Suedbeck 2, 0-0, 4. Totals: 22, 17-22, 69

Bemidji (52): Fodness 2, 0-0, 5; Baumgartner 1, 0-0, 2; Supalla 1, 1-2, 3; Cervenka 3, 1-2, 7; Sherk 1, 0-0, 3; McNallan 3, 1-6, 7; Declusin 0, 0-0, 0; Misco 2, 0-0, 4; Mills 2, 2-4, 6; Sullivan 7, 1-1, 15; Hovila 0, 0-0, 0. Totals: 22, 6-15, 52

Fouls: Willmar 15, Bemidji 17

Halftime: Willmar 32, Bemidji 28

Freshmen Game

Bemidji 62, Willmar 48

pmiller@bemidjipioneer.com

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