The Bemidji High girls basketball team recorded its most impressive win of the year Saturday, coming from 11 points behind in the final four minutes to tie, then shading Alexandria 72-69 in overtime.
It lifted Bemidji to 18-1 and dropped the Cardinals to 17-4.
The contest matched the No. 3 and 4 ranked teams in the state Class 3-A poll with Bemidji keeping its spot with the win.
For most of the contest, however, it appeared as if Alex would prevail. Bemidji never led during the regulation game, finally knotting the game at 62 and 64 in the dying moments.
It took its first lead on Kelsey Heisler's layup off the tip off to start the extra period.
But Alex went back ahead 68-66 and 69-68 before Kayla Hirt sent Bemidji ahead with her ninth field goal of the game and followed with two free throws to up the margin to three.
Alex desperation three pointer from the right corner came a second after the final buzzer. It would have tied the score had it counted.
Hirt and Angela Christianson of Alex staged their expected battle. Hirt led Bemidji with 25 including six of the eight overtime points.
Christianson was saddled with fouls most to the game spending long stretches on the bench.
But when she was on the floor, she was almost impossible to stop, netting 17 points including three in the extra stanza.
The first half was a see-saw affair of stretches with Alex having four runs for 23 and Bemidji a pair for 13.
Bemidji was having problems connecting, hitting only six times in the firs 10 minutes.
Alex took an early 8-2 lead, only to see Bemidji counter with five.
Alex matched this string for a 13-7 lead and added a later six for a 24-14 advantage late in the period,.
But Bemidji got back in contention, running eight to draw within two at 24-22,
But Alex out scored the home team 10-2 until halftime and took a 10 point lead to the locker room.
Bemidji started fast in the second half, opening with six to trail by four.
But diminutive guard Grace Guzek began finding the range from behind the arc, boosting the Cards to a 46-35 lead at the midpoint of the stanza,
A later run of six sent the visitors to a 54-43 lead with time running down,
But the host team showed no quit and answered with a string of seven to come within four again and eventually got to within one on Kenzie Kane's trey.
After two Alex free throws, a Erika Weimann trey and two Hirt free throws knotted the score qt 62.
Lauren Trumm dropped a pair of free throws which Hirt matched on a closing bucket to send the game into overtime.
Heisler's layup gave Bemidji its first lead and the final four Hirt points decided the issue.
Freshman Jess Yost gave Bemidji a major boost scoring 17, matching her second best game of the year. Heisler ended with nine and Weimann eight.
Gruzek followed Christianson with15 and Trumm hit 13 off the bench
Bemidji's bench held a 25-19 lead over Alex in scoring.
Bemidji held a 49-38 boards advantage with Hirt clearing 20. Christianson's seven led the Cards.,
The loosely played affair found Bemidji with 24 turnovers, only seven after the half, Alex had 25.
Bemidji hosts Little Falls Thursday and Rocori Saturday in its next games.
Alex won the B Team game 44-37 dropping Bemidji to 7-12.
Bemidji led 21-15 at the break but was outscored 29-18 by the Cardinals down the stretch.
Gretchen Brose and Lauren Johnson had 12 each for the Cardinals. Maren Erpelding and Cori Treat had eight to lead Bemidji.
There was no freshman game.
BEMIDJI (72) Heisler 3 3-4 3 9; Hirt 9 7-10 34 25; Hendricks 1 0-1 0 2; Weimann 3 0-0 3 8; Huseby 1 0-0 3 3; Yost 6 5-7 1 17; Kane 2 2-2 5 7; Gilbertson 0 0-0 0 0; Totals: 25 18-2619 72
ALEXANDRIA (69) Haar 1 0-0 4 2; Bruzek 6 0-1 5 15; S. Trumm 2 3-4 1 7; Christianson 6 5-5 3 17; Gearman 4 1-1 2 9; Johnson 0 0-0 0 0; L. Trumm 3 79 3 13; Wood 3 0-0 1 6; Warnes 0 0-0 0 0; Totals: 25 16-20 19 5 60
Alexandria 34 30 5---69
Bemidji 24 40 8---72
Three point field goals: Bemidji 4 (Weimann 2, Huseby 1, Kane1); Alexandria 3-Christianson 3
Rebounds; Bemidji 49, Alex 25
Turnovers: .Bemidji 24, Alex 25
Officials: Darwin Bachman and Terry Eiter.
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BEMIDJI B (30) Erpelding 8, Treat 8, Hadrava 6, Monsrud 5, Melhouse 5, Gronhovd 4, Sagedahl 3
ALEXANDRIA (44) Johnson 12, Brose 12, Ludwig 6, Ehbert 4, Warnes 4, Wold-Clough 2, Reck 2, Faust 2
Halftime score; Bemidji 21, Alexandria 15