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Bemidji HS girls basketball: Jacks hold on to edge Moorhead

The Bemidji High girls basketball team blew a 20 point lead late in the game Tuesday but rallied at the end to pull out a 63-59 decision before a fine turnout at the Fieldhouse.

It was the seventh win in eight starts for Bemidji and dropped the Spuds to 2-4.

For a half it appeared to be a runaway as Bemidji vaulted to a 29-9 lead late in the opening stanza and was still in front by 13 at halftime.

But the visitors unleashed a three point barrage in the second half to draw steadily closer, finally tying the score at 56-56 with1:18 remaining.

At this point, however, Bemidji ran off the next six points, enough to withstand the sixth trey of half and put the game away.

In the battle of Division I bound stars, Bemidji's Kayla Hirt came out the victor.

The 6-3 junior drained 14 field goals and ended with a career high 38 points. She also pulled down 21 rebounds, also a personal best.

Miki Stephenson had 18 points and 13 boards for the losers.

But she had ample support from guards Erika Henrikson and Maggie Gulsvig who drained seven of the team's eight treys, all in the second half..

Gulsvig is the daughter of long time Moorhead High boys Coach Chuck Gulsvig who was in the audience. He stepped down this year after 27 seasons at the helm.

Bemidji came out firing, put up a strong defense and rolled in strings of 6, 6. 10 and 7 to take its 22-9 lead.

Hirt spent several minutes on the bench after picking up her second foul and Bemidji eventually went into a zone when she returned to further protect her.

But she sat out the final minutes of the stanza as Moorhead rallied for a 9-2 run to come to within 31-18.

Hirt had 17 at this point and Stephenson only eight.

The lead continued around the 13 point mark through the early stages of the second half .

The home team then ran a six point run and lead 47-31 and seemed on its way to an easy victory.

But Hirt picked up her third and fourth fouls and went back to the bench and the Spuds began finding the range from behind the arc repeatedly.

But Bemidji entered the closing four minutes ahead 56-49 when Moorhead ran seven unanswered points and suddenly it was a new ball game.

At 56-56, Abby Hendricks' jumper sent Bemidji ahead to stay and Hirt and Erika Weimann added braces of free throws as Moorhead finally began missing its long range jumpers.

Henrikson's final trey sliced the lead to 62-59 with seconds remaining and Hirt closed out the game with her last free throw.

Hendricks hit a season high seven to follow Hirt. Weimann had six.

Henrikson had 12 and Gulsvig 11 for the Spuds who matched Bemidji's 22 field goals but out shot the winners from beyond the arc 8-1.

But Bemidji drained 18 free throws to the losers seven which told the tale.

Bemidji is idle now until hosting Detroit Lakes Jan.7.

The B Team game was similar to the varsity's except that Moorhead not only overcame a 15 point second half deficit but won in overtime 63-58.

Bemidji had 18 points from Jess Yost who played only the first half which fond Bemidji leading 29-22.

They expanded the margin to 15 midway through the second half in her absence but fell apart down the stretch against a Moorhead full court press that forced 37 turnovers, 25 after the beak. The winners had only 18.

Caitlin Hadrava had 12 and Jenna Sagedahl 10 for Bemidji, both personal highs. Hailey Wixio was tops for Moorhead with 12.

The B Team dropped to 2-5.

There was no freshman contest.