GIRLS BASKETBALL: Schreiber, Jacks bring passion in 92-44 loss to Hopkins
BEMIDJI -- The Bemidji High School girls basketball team faced far and away its biggest challenge of the season Friday night. But even through a 92-44 loss to Class 4A No. 4 Hopkins, the always-animated, always-energetic Steve Schreiber fought just as passionately as his Lumberjacks from the sidelines at a rocking BHS Gymnasium.
“I played hard when I played, and I feel like anything I can do to help them get better (I’ll do),” the Bemidji head coach said. “Sometimes people in the crowd don’t always want to get wild and crazy, and I want those girls to hear somebody. If it’s going to be me, it’s going to be me.
“It was a fun game on both sides because they were yelling and screaming, too. That’s what a big-time basketball atmosphere should feel like, and I felt like we had it tonight.”
The Lumberjack players could feel his energy, too.
“He has a lot of energy… anywhere we go,” junior Allison Beard said. “He’s an intense guy, but it’s a good kind of intense. I definitely like what he brings to the table in terms of that.”
And while the final result may not show it, BHS hung around with one of the state’s bests in the first half.
Despite an opening 11-0 run for the Royals (18-2), Bemidji fought back to keep the score manageable. After Katie Alto put the Jacks (6-12) on the board with a pair of free throws and then a layup off a steal, Beard split a pair of defenders and dished to Macy Flatness on the block for two more.
BHS still trailed by 10 at 21-11, but Bemidji had a building momentum that shot plenty of life into the electric gym.
“It was just insane,” Beard said. “We were doing so well. Everyone was shooting, everyone was doing their part. The energy was great. It was honestly one of the funnest games I’ve ever played in.”
The Jacks kept it up, cutting it to single-digits at 25-16 when Beard and Alto combined for three straight free throws. Hopkins regained control soon after with an ensuing 11-2 run, setting up a 46-27 halftime score, but it was still in a win in Bemidji’s book.
“We asked them to play hard. We asked them to play like it was their Super Bowl. And they met the challenge,” Schreiber said. “I was super, super proud. (Hopkins) had two 9-0 runs, and I called timeouts after each of those. I just looked at them and said, ‘You’ve got to find that intensity again. We’re letting up.’ And they responded each of those times in the first half. I was just super proud of it.”
BHS came out flying to open the second half, as Alto and Kennedy Mills each knocked down a 3-pointer in the opening minute. The downtown sharpshooting brought the Lumberjacks within 13 at 46-33, which was as close as they would ultimately come.
“We can play with anybody if we play like we did the first half,” Schreiber said. “We even came out strong in the second half. We cut it to (13), and then the wheels fell off. But the fact that we can play 24 minutes with a nationally-ranked team, a team that is considered a powerhouse in our state, is pretty incredible.”
Following a layup by Ciara Cermak, the Royals stormed away in championship fashion.
Two free throws for Macy Flatness sandwiched 18-0 and 21-0 runs for Hopkins, making for a dominant 39-2 spurt in total.
It led to the eventual 92-44 final, but Bemidji still had positives to take away from the night.
“We competed with one of the teams in the state,” Beard said. “That was insane for us, just to know that we can do that, we can stay within 20 points of them in the first half. If we play two halves like we did the first half, we’re going to be golden.”
The Lumberjacks will turn around quickly for today’s 4:45 p.m. meeting with Alexandria at the BHS Gymnasium.
Hopkins 92, Bemidji 44
HHH 46 46 -- 92
BHS 27 17 -- 44
Hopkins scorers: Suggs 22, Chakolis 21, Pressley 11, Adams 10, Battle 9, Hammond 8, Jaeger 6, Mosley 3, Woodson 2.
Bemidji scorers: Alto 12, Beard 8, M. Flatness 5, Mills 5, Cermak 4, Jones 3, Huberty 2, Nicklason 2, E. Wade 2, Whelan 1.