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BOYS BASKETBALL: ‘Hawks steal the thunder in 76-60 win over Bemidji

Bemidji High School junior Spencer Konecne is guarded closely by Grand Rapids senior Blake Smith in the second half of the Lumberjacks' 76-60 loss at the BHS Gymnasium on Thursday. (Micah Friez | Bemidji Pioneer)1 / 2
Bemidji High School junior Jacob Beberg passes back to midcourt in the first half of the Lumberjacks' 76-60 loss to Grand Rapids at the BHS Gymnasium on Thursday. (Micah Friez | Bemidji Pioneer)2 / 2

BEMIDJI -- Nothing came easy for the Bemidji High School boys basketball team on Thursday night, as Grand Rapids forced the Lumberjacks off course for a 76-60 road win at the BHS Gymnasium.

“Every time we would get a couple buckets in a row -- we’d score four or five points -- they’d answer with six or seven,” Bemidji head coach Travis Peterson said. “We could never get a run of more than a couple baskets consecutively. That takes stops on the defensive end and scores, obviously, on the offensive end. We just could not put it together.”

After holding the Lumberjacks (7-4) scoreless through the first four minutes, the Thunderhawks (9-3) took a 10-2 lead off a deep pull-up 3-pointer by Nate Seelye soon after. The difference hit double-digits at 20-9 when Stacy Washington sunk a three of his own, but Bemidji managed to stick around.

It tightened within four when Jace Peterson drove into the lane and kicked to Kade Peterson for a corner three, making for a 30-26 game, but Grand Rapids scored the final four of the half for a 34-26 score entering the break.

Spencer Konecne and Linaes Whiting combined for five straight early in the second half with a lay in and a deep three, respectively, holding BHS close at 36-31. But the Thunderhawks flew away, taking a 47-34 advantage with 12 minutes to play when Brooks Bachmann sunk his third of four deep 3-pointers in the half.

“They contested shots really well,” Peterson said. “They didn’t give us second chances, and we gave them too many on their end. They had too many second opportunities. Early in the first half, they were getting us on the offensive boards, and then they chipped away in the second half with some second chances. To their credit, they shot really well.”

Grand Rapids continued to run away with it from there.

Seelye capped a 14-3 Rapids run with a crafty reverse layup -- which also marked his 1,000th career point -- to put the Lumberjacks in a 67-46 hole late in the game.

BHS closed within nine points when Konecne made a pair of free throws, but the Thunderhawks rattled off the final seven points of the night to claim the 76-60 victory.

“They’re a nice team, but I told the boys that I think we’re the better team. But they were the better team tonight,” Peterson said. “We had opportunities, and we didn’t shoot well tonight. You can’t win if you don’t shoot well.”

Konecne led the way for Bemidji with 15 points and seven rebounds, while Kade Peterson added 12 points, both benefiting from the 10 assists Jace Peterson racked up by game’s end.

Seelye dropped a game-high 24 points to lead Grand Rapids, while Bachmann (16), John Sutherland (13) and Washington (12) also hit double figures.

The Jacks and Thunderhawks will finish a home-and-home series with a rematch at 7:15 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 16, in Grand Rapids.

Grand Rapids 76, Bemidji 60

GR 34 42 -- 76

BHS 26 34 -- 60

Grand Rapids scorers: Seelye 24, Bachmann 16, Sutherland 13, Washington 12, Kane 7, McCartney 2, Steere 2.

Bemidji scorers: Konecne 15, K. Peterson 12, Whiting 8, Bieberdorf 7, B. Hess 7, J. Peterson 6, Beberg 2, Jensen 2, S. Hess 1.

Micah Friez

Micah Friez is a sports reporter for the Echo Press in Alexandria. A native of East Grand Forks, he is a 2018 graduate of Bemidji State University with a degree in Creative and Professional Writing. Follow him on Twitter at @micahfriez for Douglas County sports updates.

(320) 763-1230
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