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GIRLS BASKETBALL: Bemidji no match for Fargo South’s one-two punch

BEMIDJI – Girls high school basketball teams that possess a strong inside game are tough to beat. And teams that compliment a power game with a sniper from the outside are almost impossible to defend.

Tuesday at the Bemidji High School gym Fargo South presented the Lumberjacks with such a combination and BHS did not have an answer.

Behind Madeline Strademo’s 26 points from the outside and Emily Stroup’s 24 points from the paint, the Bruins thumped the Jacks 73-56.

Bemidji’s Greta Steever drives the center lane for two points during Tuesday night against Fargo South. Monte Draper | Pioneer

“Fargo had a nice one-two combination,” said BHS coach Rick Kehoe. “As a team Fargo saw the floor and they ran their offense with good, sharp passes that created the open shots. And they didn’t miss.”

Stroup and Strandemo set the tone early. After Bemidji grabbed a quick 2-0 lead courtesy of Jess Yost’s baseline basket, Stroup answered with a power move under the bucket.

Jessa Lusby gave the Jacks a 4-2 lead with a successful drive but Strandemo responded with the first of her six 3-point baskets.

That bucket sparked a 9-0 run which upped Fargo South’s cushion to 11-4.

“Fargo had weapons we couldn’t control,” Kehoe said.

The Lumberjacks used a 6-2 spurt to climb within 13-10 and with 1:48 to play in the half they trailed only 27-25.

But the Bruins tallied the final six points of the stanza, three of them on another Strandemo trey, to open a 33-25 advantage at the break.

“We competed with Fargo in that first half,” Kehoe said. “But at the end we had a stretch were we lost sight of who we were guarding and the result was six quick points for Fargo.”

 The first four minutes of the second half proved decisive as the visitors outscored Bemidji 16-7 and opened a 49-32 cushion.

Leading the charge was Strandemo who bombed four 3-pointers during the stretch. During her night’s work Strandemo took six treys and hit them all. She also canned another three shots from the corner and one in the paint.

Dani Gronhovd scored 14 points to lead Bemidji’s offense and Yost added 13. Lusby and Alexa Greendahl each tallied eight.

Tuesday’s loss dropped the Jacks to 3-14. They will be off until Feb. 1 when they travel to East Grand Forks.

“Normally a team doesn’t want such a long break at this time of the season but I think we could use some extended time off,” Kehoe said. “We’ll give the players a few days away from the game and then have them come back fresh.”

Fargo South (73): Anderson 1, 1-2, 3; Erickson 3, 0-0, 6; Strandemo 10, 0-0, 26; Taber 3, 1-2, 7; May 2, 0-0, 5; Friedt 1, 0-0, 2; Stroup 9, 6-6, 24. Totals: 29, 8-10, 73

Bemidji (56): Lusby 3, 2-2, 8; Myhra 2, 0-0, 5; Greendahl 3, 2-3, 8; Olson 0, 2-2, 2; Yost 4, 5-7, 13; Fogarty0, 0-0, 0; Gronhovd 5, 3-3, 14; Palmer 2, 0-0, 4; Steever 1, 0-0, 2; Riley 0, 0-0, 0; Lief 0, 0-0, 0. Totals: 20, 14-17, 56

3-point FG: Fargo South 7 (Strandemo 6, May 1); Bemidji 2 (Myhra 1, Gronhovd 1)

Fouls: Fargo South 14, Bemidji 9

Halftime: Fargo South 33, Bemidji 25

Pat Miller

Pat Miller is the sports editor at the Pioneer.

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