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GIRLS BASKETBALL: Bemidji opens 2013 with victory

BEMIDJI – During the final two games of the 2012 portion of the campaign the Bemidji High School girls basketball players were able to step up their games and began to play with confidence.

Friday at the BHS gym the Lumberjacks began 2013 with those same qualities and the result was a 46-40 victory over Detroit Lakes. Friday’s win was only the second in 11 outings for the Jacks but it also was the team’s second in the past three games.

“This was the type of performance and outcome that we needed,” said Bemidji coach Rick Kehoe. “We did a nice job of not forcing things. It’s the first home win of the year and this is the result that we needed.”

Bemidji’s Kelsey Olson scores two of her eight points against Detroit Lakes Friday. Monte Draper | Bemidji Pioneer

All winter Kehoe has been preaching patience and ball movement and in the past three games his players have responded.

Friday night both teams employed those tactics but Bemidji was just a little better at turning its opportunities into points.

A sign of how the game would flow came early.

 After winning the opening tip the Lumberjacks passed around and through Detroit Lakes’ zone defense for 35 seconds. Eventually Greta Steever found Jess Yost unguarded under the basket and Yost connected to give the home team a 2-0 lead.

The Lakers followed a similar recipe and Tina Hutchinson capped their first possession with a bucket from the baseline.

The teams traded baskets during the first seven minutes and BHS held a 12-9 lead after Suzanne Myhra drained a shot from the top of the key.

Following that basket, however, both teams temporarily lost their offensive focus and started hurrying their shots and passes. The result was a scoreless four-minute span which finally was broken by Laker Brooke Olson who hit a 15-footer.

The rest of the half saw the teams return to the successful strategies of the first seven minutes and at intermission Bemidji owned a 22-21 lead.

“At the half I felt good about our performance,” Kehoe said. “Because of our ball movement there were many holes in the Detroit Lakes defense. Sometimes we didn’t see them right away but they were there.

“And it was nice to see everybody contribute offensively,” the coach continued. “Jess had only five points but she was able to find open teammates who were able to score.”

Dani Gronhovd paced Bemidji’s attack with 11 points while Kelsey Olson contributed seven, Jessa Lusby seven, Alexa Greendahl six and Casey Palmer five.

“We’ve won two of our last three games and if we duplicate this type of effort Saturday when we play Cloquet we could have another win.”

The Jacks and Cloquet will tip off 1 p.m. today at the BHS gym.

Detroit Lakes (40): Foster 1, 1-2, 3; Jorgenson 1, 0-0, 2; Bridgeman 1, 0-0, 2; Nielsen 3, 3-4 9; Hutchinosn 2, 0-00, 4; Kerzman 3, 1-2, 10; Olson 5, 0-0, 10. Totals: 16, 5-8, 40.

Bemidji (46): Lusby 3, 0-0, 7; Myhra 1, 0-0, 2; Greendahl ,3 0-0, 6; Olson 4, 0-0, 8; Yost 2, 1-2, 5; Gronhovd 2, 3-4, 11; Palmer 2, 1-2, 5; Steever 1, 0-0, 2. Totals; 19, 5-8, 46

3-point FG: Detroit Lakes 3, Bemidji 3 (Gronhovd 2, Lusby 1)

Fouls: Detroit Lakes 15, Bemidji 6

Halftime: Bemidji 22, Detroit Lakes 21

Pat Miller

Pat Miller is the sports editor at the Pioneer.

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