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GIRLS BASKETBALL: Second-half surge powers Brainerd over Bemidji

Bemidji senior Cheyenne Woods drives the lane against Brainerds Abby Clanton on Thursday evening during the first half of basketball action. Monte Draper | Bemidji Pioneer1 / 2
Brainerd girls basketball coach Troy Nelson, left, watches Bemidji's Kelsey Olson drain a three pointer during their game Thursday evening. Monte Draper | Bemidji Pioneer2 / 2

BEMIDJI — Brainerd erased an early double-digit deficit and came back to defeat Bemidji 62-54 Thursday at the BHS Gym.

The Warriors trailed by as many as 15 points in the first half, but controlled the end of the first half and beginning of the second half to climb back into the game.

Three three-pointers from Kelsey Olson helped the Lumberjacks build a 17-5 lead during the first seven minutes of play.

“Before the game I asked her if there was anything bothering her or if there was anything I could do to help her,” Bemidji head coach Rick Kehoe said. “She said it was in her head, and I told her to just go play and have fun. She shot with confidence tonight and it was nice to see.”

Katelyn Johnson cut Brainerd’s deficit to single digits at 24-15 with four minutes left in the first half.

After trailing 32-17, Brainerd ended the first half with a 13-2 run to make the score 34-30.

“If we finish out the half with a 12-point lead, it is a completely different game in the second half,” Kehoe said. “That was too much of a run to give up to a team. We had them on the ropes up to that point.”

The Warriors opened the second half with a 6-2 advantage to tie the score, for the first time since the opening minutes of the contest, at 36-36.

Minutes later, they regained the lead at 41-40 on a three-pointer from Johnson.

The teams traded single possession leads for the next ten minutes, but Brainerd held a 52-49 lead with three minutes left in the game.

A jumper from Casey Palmer got the Lumberjacks within two points at 56-54 with 56 seconds remaining, but that is the closest they would get.

Maria West, of Brainerd, led all scorers with 25 points.

Olson led the way for Bemidji with 18 points, while Cheyenne Woods added 17.

BHS returns to action Saturday, when it will host Duluth Denfeld at 5:30 p.m.

Brainerd 62, Bemidji 54

Brainerd (62) — West 6 11 25; Johnson 4 6 16; Heurung 2 5 10; Clanton 1 2 5; Boeder 1 2 4; Southard 1 0 2. Totals 15 25 63.

Bemidji (54) — Olson 6 3 17; Woods 5 5 17; Palmer 3 1 7; Chadwick 2 1 5; Greendhal 2 1 5; Smith 0 2 2. Totals 18 13 54.

Halftime score: Bemidji 34, Brainerd 30