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GIRL'S BASKETBALL: Strong second half powers Duluth East past BHS

Bemidji's Casey Palmer (35) fights for an offensive rebound from Duluth East's Bridget Faegre (32) Thursday night. Coming in to assist is teammate Jillian Ricci (5). Monte Draper | Bemidji Pioneer1 / 5
Bemidji's Alexa Greendahl (13) goes up for an offensive rebound in the first half against Duluth East on Thursday night. Monte Draper | Bemidji Pioneer2 / 5
Bemidji's Amber Smith, left, pulls up for a shot during the first half against Duluth East Thursday night. Monte Draper | Bemidji Pioneer3 / 5
Bemidji's Karlie Leif takes a shot during the first half of their game against Duluth East. Monte Draper | Bemidji Pioneer4 / 5
Bemidji's Megan Serratore is boxed in by two Duluth East defenders during the first half against Duluth East Thursday evening. Monte Draper | Bemidji Pioneer5 / 5

BEMIDJI -- It was a tale of two halves for the Bemidji High School girls basketball team in its 67-51 loss to Duluth East Thursday at the BHS Gym.

Duluth East outscored Bemidji 41-22 in the second half to earn the comeback win. It was the fourth-straight loss for the Lumberjacks, now 3-7.

"They got the ball to their big girl inside (Hannah Johnson) and we were not able to stop her," Bemidji head coach Rick Kehoe said. "Offensively, we did not get a bucket for a few minutes to start the half. Once we get down, we have to pressure the ball more, which opens things up even more for their posts."

After taking a 29-26 lead into the locker room at halftime, the Greyhounds (3-8) pulled away after scoring the first 10 points of the half to take a 36-29 lead; BHS didn't get much closer than that.

Johnson led all scorers with 32 points for Duluth East.

"She was very good inside," Kehoe said of Johnson. "She had great footwork and she kept working until she got the shot she liked. Once she got her shot, she did not miss."

The Lumberjacks, however, were the ones who got off to a hot start. They grabbed an early 11-6 lead after five minutes of play.

"We needed that," Kehoe said of the start. "I thought we had it figured out, but it just fell apart as the game went on."

The Greyhounds battled back to take their first lead of the half, at 15-14, on a layup from Johnson with seven minutes left in the first half.

Bemidji answered with a 10-3 run, highlighted by three pointers from Jillian Ricci and Kelsey Olson, to regain the lead at 24-18 with four minutes remaining in the half.

"It shows determination by the girls," Kehoe said. "We had a nice run and I thought we finished the half pretty strong."

Duluth East cut the deficit to just one point, at 27-26, with a 7-0 run, but Bemidji took a 29-26 advantage to the locker room at the break.

In the second half the Greyhounds pulled away after the early spurt. They maintained their lead and pushed it to double digits at 51-41 with 6:46 left in the contest.

A three-point play from Danielle Cieluch pushed the lead to 15 with less than three minutes left to help seal the victory.

Alexa Greendahl led the Lumberjacks with 13 points. Cheyenne Woods and Olson added ten points each.

Bemidji will play at Crookston next Tuesday at 7:30 p.m.

Duluth East 67, Bemidji 51

Duluth East (67) Johnson 13 6 32; Libbon 5 2 12; William 2 0 4; Rudolph 1 0 3; Anderson 3 1 8; Churchill 0 1 1; Cieluch 1 1 3; Weyenberg 2 0 4. Totals 27 11 67.

Bemidji (51) Ricci 2 0 5; Leif 1 1 3; Greendahl 5 3 13; Olson 3 2 10; Woods 3 3 10; Sagedahl 1 0 2; Smith 0 2 2; Palmer 2 2 6. Totals 17 13 51.

Halftime score: Bemidji 29, Duluth East 26