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BOYS BASKETBALL: Bemidji shows improvement but falls to East Grand Forks

Bemidji’s Collin Rutledge drives the center lane against East Grand Forks defender Grant Frydenlund (10) in the first half on Thursday night. Monte Draper | Bemidji Pioneer

BEMIDJI — Despite a major improvement from the last time the two teams met, Bemidji fell to East Grand Forks 67-58 Thursday at the Bemidji High School Gym.

The Green Wave defeated Bemidji 90-37 when the two teams played on Nov. 30.

“We had a very solid first half; we just have to put two halves together,” Bemidji head coach Dan Ninham said. “We played well and did everything that we wanted to do, but in crunch time we just could not make the plays.”

A barrage of three-pointers from Joe Strong, James Hendricks and Jaylen Ingalls gave the Lumberjacks an early 12-10 lead after four minutes of play.

“We were not surprised that they were able to come out and make shots tonight,” East Grand Forks head coach Travis Lindgren said. “They shot a low percentage last time, but we know that they are a very good three-point shooting team and they made a lot of shots tonight.”

A fast break layup from Colin Rutledge was the first two-point field goal made by Bemidji and it increased the lead to 20-17 with eight minutes left in the first half.

Strong added a three-pointer, his third of the first half, in the final minute to make the lead 29-23 at halftime.

East Grand Forks started the second half with a 9-2 run in the first three minutes to grab a 32-31 lead.

“Our guys did a great job responding by staying confident in the second half,” Lindgren said. “That is a time of the game where if you did not make the plays early, it could have easily gone the other way, so I am proud of them for that.”

The Lumberjacks regained the lead at 43-40 thanks to a three-pointer from Ingalls with ten minutes left in the game.

The play remained even and the score stayed within a five point difference until Ty Misialek scored six straight points for the Green Wave to help build a 56-50 lead with under two minutes remaining in the game.

A three-pointer from Hendricks cut the deficit in half, but the Lumberjacks could not get any closer than three points as they fell short to the Green Wave.

“We have a very great group of seniors and it helps that they are confident at the free throw line,” Lindgren said. “We were able to get it to Grant and Ty, who are very good free throw shooters, and they came through for us.”

Misialek led all scorers with 27 points.

Hendricks led the Lumberjacks with 15 points on the night.

“We are really starting to figure out who our go-to guys will be,” Ninham said. “We just have to keep improving.”

Bemidji (1-9) will return to action Saturday at 3 p.m. when it hosts Minneapolis North Community.

“We are still looking for the wins,” Ninham said. “We are making improvements and have a big game coming up on Saturday.”

East Grand Forks 67, Bemidji 58

East Grand Forks (67): Misialek 8 9 27; Bjornson 5 2 12; Frydenlund 2 6 12; Warmack 3 1 7; Friez 2 0 4; Scheving 1 0 2; Seim 0 1 1. Totals 22 19 67.

Bemidji (58): Hendricks 4 3 15; Anderson 4 4 12; Strong 3 2 11; Ingalls 4 11; Rutledge 2 0 5; Cervenka 2 0 4. Totals 19 9 58.

Halftime: Bemidji 29, East Grand Forks 23

Pat Miller

Pat Miller is the sports editor at the Pioneer.

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