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Bemidji enjoys first home victory

BEMIDJI – The season-long home losing streak for the Bemidji boys basketball team ended Saturday when the Lumberjacks outran Sauk Rapids-Rice 68-58.

Saturday’s victory was the second of the winter for the Jacks and they will take a 2-18 record into Tuesday’s game at Buffalo.

BHS opened a 14-13 lead seven minutes into the action and the Lumberjacks maintained an edge the rest of the way.

“Winning at home is always good for a program,” said Bemidji coach Dan Ninham. “We might have made winning this game more of a challenge than it needed to be but this was an important win for us.”

Ninham-coached teams have always been noted for their pressure defense and that tactic was effective against Sauk Rapids. The visitors committed 25 turnovers and the Lumberjacks turned many of those mistakes into instant offensive opportunities.

“Defense generates offense and we worked our way into position to score because of our defense,” Ninham said. “At this level it’s tough to score, especially in the paint, and being consistent with our inside offense is something we continue to work on.”

The ability to force the turnover was instrumental in Bemidji’s 12-0 run which gave the Jacks a 22-13 advantage with seven minutes to play in the first half. During that four-minute span the Storm squandered four possessions because of turnovers.

The streak was fueled by the long-ball as Richard Seado drained a pair of 3-pointers and Jeremiah Huseby and James Hendricks also connected from beyond the arc.

Sauk Rapids used a late surge to slice its deficit to 32-26 at the break but never could get closer than seven points in the second half.

With six minutes to play the Lumberjacks enjoyed their largest lead at 59-41, a luxury they hadn’t previously experienced at home but a feeling they would like to repeat during the final five games.

“There are some games left on our schedule that we should be competitive in,” Ninham said. “And that will be our goal.”

Josh Misco provided a spark Saturday with 10 rebounds. Bemidji had four players score in double figures including Seado with 16, Huesby with 14, Billy Baumgartner with 13 and Hendricks with 10.

Sauk Rapids-Rice (58): Burklund 1, 0-0, 2; Ali 3, 0-1, 6; Kieke 4, 4-7, 18; Silbernick 3, 0-0, 6; Krebs 0, 1-2, 1; Boras 2, 2-2, 8; Riedeman 5, 1-4, 11; Douvier 1, 2-3, 4; Stockinger 1, 0-1, 2. Totals: 21, 10-18, 58

Bemidji (68): Baumgartner 2, 9-16, 13; Strong 0, 4-4, 4; Ingalls 1, 2-5, 4; Seado 5, 4-6, 16; Hendricks 4, 0-0, 10; Bruns 0, 1-3, 1; Misco 3, 0-0, 6; Huseby 6, 0-0, 14. Totals: 21, 20-34, 68

3-point FG: Sauk Rapids 6, Bemidji 6 (Seado 2, Hendricks 2, Huseby 2)

Fouls: Sauk Rapids 30, Bemidji 23

Halftime: Bemidji 32, Sauk Rapids 26