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Bemidji boys hike record to 12-1 with win over Duluth Central

The Bemidji High School boys basketball team defeated Duluth Central 84-71 on Saturday afternoon at the BHS Fieldhouse.

The Lumberjacks (12-1) were able to take control in the final minutes of the first half, as well as the opening minutes of the second half.

Saturday was Senior Recognition Day for Bemidji and the honored players included Ben Hengel, Ryan Rude, Harley Kroening, Seth Vonasek and Grant Richardson.

"The five seniors have been together for a long time," said Rude, who scored 23 points. "Over the years we have built a family atmosphere that has helped us win games."

Bemidji opened Saturday's contest outscoring Duluth 18-9 in the first six minutes.

"The seniors are essential to our success," said head coach Jeff Brown. "They all understand their roles. Most importantly, they are great leaders. Not just during the season, but throughout the summer we spend a lot of time together. We are going to miss them. We will miss their talents, their leadership and their friendship."

The Trojans fashioned an 11-2 run to tie the game at 20-20 with eight minutes left in the half and the game was still tied at 28-28 four minutes later.

The Lumberjacks, however, closed with an 11-4 run to give them a 39-32 lead at the break.

"Our goal is to win the last four minutes of each half," said Brown. "We had a nice run that gave us a little clearance going into halftime. Anytime you can do that you make the other team work that much harder to come back. I think you could see that at the end their guys looked a little tired."

Bemidji came out with the same fire to open the second half and with 14:30 to play it held a 49-34 lead.

Following a pair of 3-pointers from the Trojans, the Lumberjack lead had been cut to six with five minutes left to play.

Bemidji applied defensive pressure to score the next 10 points, eight from Carey Woods, to take an 82-66 lead with two minutes to play.

"My job on this team is to score points," said Woods. "When we are struggling, I try to pick us up by going to the basket and creating for myself and others."

Woods led the Lumberjacks with 37 points.

Rude found success on both his inside and his outside shots.

"At the beginning, I tried to drive to the basket and get a flow for the game," said Rude. "Then I tested the outside shot to see if it was going in today or not. My role on this team is to be a playmaker and help set everyone up, including myself."

Bemidji will return to action Tuesday with a home game against Grand Rapids.

Duluth Central (71): Hanka 1, 0-0, 2; Dopp 2, 0-0, 5; Laughlin 8, 2-3, 21; Ohaju 1, 3-4, 5; Anderson 0, 0-0, 0; Meger 10, 0-0, 21. Totals: 29, 5-7, 71

Bemidji (84): Hengel 0, 0-0, 0; Rude 9, 4-7, 23; Kroening 1, 0-0, 2; Brown 3, 2-3, 9; Woods 16, 2-2, 37; Cervenka 3, 0-2, 6; Vonasek 0, 0-0, 0; Richardson 2, 1-1, 5; Declusin 1, 0-0, 2. Totals: 35, 9-15, 84

Fouls: Duluth Central 15, Bemidji 13

Halftime: Bemidji 39, Duluth Central 32