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BOYS BASKETBALL: Block party: Konecne, Bemidji drop Green Wave in 96-57 rout

Junior Spencer Konecne powers to the basket for two during the Lumberjacks’ matchup against East Grand Forks on Monday at Bemidji High School. (Ryan Pietruszewski | Bemidji Pioneer)1 / 2
Bemidji High School junior Ryan Bieberdorf looks to make a pass inside during Monday’s game against East Grand Forks. (Ryan Pietruszewski | Bemidji Pioneer)2 / 2

BEMIDJI -- Spencer Konecne was well on his way to a triple-double on Monday, but, with the Bemidji High School boys basketball team’s dominant lead over East Grand Forks safe, he took rest of the night off, instead.

“His interior presence is just something that not every team has, and it’s definitely something that (spreads) energy throughout our team,” BHS head coach Travis Peterson said. “His teammates love it when he gets a block. The crowd loves it when he gets a block. He’s starting to feed off of that.”

Fueled by 17 points, 11 rebounds and eight blocks from Konecne, the Lumberjacks cruised to a 96-57 win over the Wave at the BHS Gymnasium.

“Everybody gets pumped up after (my blocks). That’s when we start our runs and score in transition,” Konecne said. “That’s when we play our best.”

Bemidji (12-5) shot out early as an inside score from Jacob Beberg put the Jacks in a 13-4 lead. The advantage expanded when Cobb Hubbard stepped back for a corner 3-pointer and sunk it, giving BHS a 22-7 edge.

EGF (9-6) stuck around, though, and back-to-back layups for Steven Widman on the fast break brought the game within nine at 28-19. The difference held after three free throws for Nathan Willet made it 37-28, but BHS runned and gunned away with it to end the half.

Kade Peterson and Colten Jensen teamed up for an 8-0 run in response, highlighted by Peterson’s no-look dime from near halfcourt to the block that found Jensen for an open bunny. And even though another fast-break finish for Widman stopped the run at eight, Bemidji quickly started another one.

Konecne responded with an and-one finish and tallied another putback soon after. He followed with a booming block on the other end to finish off the half, cementing a 14-2 closing run that had the Lumberjacks in a 51-30 advantage.

“The key for us was going hard in transition,” coach Peterson said. “We’re better when we can get out and run, and when we can put pressure on our opponent… That’s when we’re dangerous, I believe, so it was nice to sustain that tonight for a good stretch of the game.”

Konecne scored the first seven of a 9-0 run early in the second half, including a finish on the block when Jace Peterson dangled with the dribble before dishing inside for the bucket.

The difference hit 30 at 66-36 when Jensen completed the 9-0 run on a pair of free throws with 12 minutes to play. Konecne checked out for the rest of the night, but Bemidji continued to rattle off points.

Widman stopped the bleeding for East Grand Forks on a free throw, but an and-one for Jensen and a transition two for Hubbard capped another seven straight for the Jacks immediately afterwards.

Joel Lindsey made it a 35-point game with eight minutes to go, and BHS coasted from there to a 39-point victory, 96-57.

“We’ve had games this year where we’ve forgotten, for stretches, to push the ball up the court. And we’re better when we do it,” coach Peterson said. “We sustained that for the second half. We were getting rebounds, we were getting outlet passes and we were going hard to the basket. We were finding the open man and finishing at the rim. A lot of layups in the second half.”

Konecne and Jensen each finished with 17 points to split the team lead, while Ryan Bieberdorf added another 12 points and four steals. Cole Anderson led the Green Wave with a game-high 18, and Willet added another nine off the EGF bench.

“We were finishing, we were rebounding really well, and we were playing good defense,” Konecne said. “We were scoring in transition and sharing the ball… It was a lot of fun.”

Bemidji will next head to Superior, Wis., for a matchup with the Spartans at 7:15 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 2.

Bemidji 96, East Grand Forks 57

EGF 30 27 -- 57

BHS 51 45 -- 96

East Grand Forks scorers: Anderson 18, Willett 9, Benson 7, Votava 7, Widman 7, Stanislawski 6, Vossler 2, Hassan 1.

Bemidji scorers: Jensen 17, Konecne 17, Bieberdorf 12, Hubbard 7, Snell 7, K. Peterson 6, Whiting 6, Hatfield 5, Lindsey 5, J. Peterson 5, Beberg 3, Wilson 3, B. Hess 2, Milz 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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