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Boys basketball: Full court trap helps Bemidji down International Falls

BEMIDJI -- A conversation among the staff prompted Bemidji head boys basketball coach Dan Ninham to add a full court trap press to the team’s defensive arsenal and Tuesday the tactic worked to perfection as the Lumberjacks continually thwarted International Falls’ offense.

The press helped BHS post its first victory of the winter as the Jacks rolled to a 78-64 win.

“I’ve never used the full court trap but the coaches always discuss how we can improve our play,” Ninham said of the decision to employ the defensive weapon. “I’m not sure if International Falls was ready for it but I do know that it was very effective.”

With the help of the trap Bemidji bolted to a 42-25 halftime lead and BHS was able to maintain an edge the rest of the way.

“We extended the lead to 20 points in the second half but they were able to whittle it down to about 12,” Ninham said. “But we hung in there and made the free throws at the end.”

Joe Strong’s 3-pointer six minutes into the action gave the Lumberjacks a 10-2 lead and a trey by Jens Huseby with 8:30 to play in the half extended the margin to double digits at 23-12.

An 11-3 run in the final three minutes of the stanza gave Bemidji its 42-25 advantage at intermission.

Strong had 15 points at the break while Collin Rutledge contributed 10 and Huseby nine.

Strong finished with a game-high 20 points. Rutledge added 16, Huseby 13 and Josh Cervenka 12.

International Falls had three players in double figures and leading the way was power forward Ben Humbert who muscled his way to 28 points.

Bemidji (1-4) hosts Buffalo Saturday.

International Falls (64): Hallin 4, 1-2, 11; Johnson 2, 0-0, 5; Miggins 2, 0-0, 5; Bartkowski 6, 0-0, 12; Vergeldt 1, 1-2, 3; Humbert 8, 11-16, 28. Totals: 23, 14-20, 64

Bemidji (78): Hendricks 3, 1-2, 7; Rutledge 8, 0-2, 16; Strong 8, 0-2, 20; Ingalls 1, 2-2, 4; Huseby 4, 3-4, 13; Cervenka 3, 5-8, 12; Snell 0, 0-0, 0; Ramirez 1, 2-2, 4; Salander 1, 0-0, 2. Totals: 29, 13-22, 78

3-point FG: International Falls 5, Bemidji 7 (Strong 4, Huseby 2, Cervenka 1)

Fouls: International Falls 14, Bemidji 16

halftime: Bemidji 42, International Falls 25

Pat Miller

Pat Miller is the sports editor at the Pioneer.

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