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Bemidji boys basketball team tops Cathedral to stay perfect

Bemidji's Grant Richardson grabs a rebound and puts it back for two points Saturday against St. Cloud Cathedral. Pioneer Photo/Monte Draper.

Bemidji High School boys basketball players gave coach Jeff Brown the perfect birthday present Saturday as the Lumberjacks capped a 2-0 record at the Lakes and Woods Classic by downing St. Cloud Cathedral 89-76.

Saturday's victory kept the Lumberjacks unbeaten at 4-0. After playing four games in eight days, BHS can now take a breather as the Jacks are off until Dec. 21 when they entertain Sauk Rapids.

"Winning Saturday and going 2-0 was a good birthday present," Brown said. "Saturday's win wasn't clean and I don't think it was our best game of the year but the kids fought hard and scored 89 points.

"I am pleased that we opened the year knocking off some quality teams. It is a good start to the season," the coach continued.

For most of the game Cathedral gave Bemidji all it could handle and with 2:36 remaining the Crusaders were within 79-74. The Jacks, however, outscored their guests 10-2 down the stretch as Grant Richardson connected inside, Ryan Rude contributed a bucket and two free throws, Carey Woods found a seam in the paint and Mitch Brown scored on a rebound.

Bemidji appeared ready to take complete control on numerous occasions but each time Cathedral would answer with a run and close the gap to single digits.

At intermission the Jacks owned a 44-33 advantage Behind Rude's 10-point effort and nine points by Brown. Midway through the second half the lead was 63-48 but Cathedral drew within 69-60 with 6:11 to play.

Another Crusader spurt helped the visitors creep within 75-70 and 79-74 but Bemidji's quickness helped the Lumberjacks regain and maintain the edge in the final minutes.

"It was a day game after a night game against a very good team," the coach said. "We had some nice stretches but we had to fight for everything."

The Lumberjacks also experienced early foul trouble as Rude was whistled for his second infraction three minutes into the contest and Cody Rutledge and Woods soon followed.

"When you are in foul trouble like we were you have to change things," Brown said. "But our bench did a nice job and bought us a lot of time. And that is something we needed."

Woods finished with 31 points, all but eight of them coming in the second half. Rude contributed 16, Mitch Brown 12 and Rutledge 11.

Grand Rapids made it a sweep for the northern teams in Saturday's early game as it blitzed Park of Cottage Grove 77-56.

During the tournament Bemidji and Grand Rapids went 2-0 while Park and Cathedral were 0-2.

Bemidji's representatives on the All-Tournament team were Woods and Rude while Grand Rapids was represented by Jake Sutherland and Alex Illikainen.

Making the team for Park were Mark Christian and August Omot while Joseph Burt and Scottie Rucks were the Cathedral players selected to the squad.

Bemidji's junior varsity also won Saturday as it belted Cathedral 65-18. Kyle Fodness had 10 points for the Jacks.

Lakes and Woods Classic

Bemidji 2-0, Grand Rapids 2-0, St. Cloud Cathedral 0-2, Park of Cottage Grove 0-2

Saturday's Result

Cathedral (76): Leyendecker 1, 0-0, 3; Schmit 0, 5-6, 5; Bjorklund 5, 7-8, 19; Bestgen 1, 0-0, 2; Reisdorf 4, 2-3, 10; Burt 8, 5-7, 24; Rucks 5, 1-1, 12; Carnahan 0, 1-3, 1. Totals: 24, 21-28, 76.

Bemidji (89): Hengel 2, 2-2, 7; Rude 6, 4-5, 16; Kroening 1, 0-2, 3; Rutledge 5, 1-1, 11; Brown 3, 6-, 12; Woods 12, 5-5, 31; Vonasek 0, 0-0, 0; Richardson 3, 1-2, 7; Declusin 0, 2-2, 2. Totals: 32, 21-27, 89.

Fouls: Cathedral 20, Bemidji 21

Halftime: Bemidji 44, Cathedral 33

All-Tournament Team

Bemidji: Rude, Woods; Cathedral: Burt, Rucks; Park: Christian, Omot; Grand Rapids: Sutherland, Illikainen

Saturday's Junior Varsity Result

Bemidji 65, Cathedral 18

Pat Miller

Pat Miller is the sports editor at the Pioneer.

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