Boys basketball: Jacks rally, Topple Trojans

The Bemidji Lumberjacks ended a long regular season on a happy note Friday, scoring the final 10 points of the game to shade Duluth Central 60-56 on the Trojans court.

The Bemidji Lumberjacks ended a long regular season on a happy note Friday, scoring the final 10 points of the game to shade Duluth Central 60-56 on the Trojans court.

It marked the first time all season that Bemidji had won two straight and ended their year 5-19. But it ended with three wins in its last five starts headed to the start of the playoffs.

They will begin Thursday at St. Cloud Tech, a change from the original schedule that listed the openers for Tuesday.

The semifinals will be Saturday at a neutral site with the title game March 18, also at a neutral site.

The two teams waged a spirited fight with neither leading by more than six points and Central reaching that figure only once.


That gave the Trojans a 56-50 lead with less that four minutes to play.

But Bemidji held the home team scoreless during those four minutes while mixing one basket with eight straight free throws to tie and move ahead to stay.

The Baker twins led the way with Drew hitting 14 and Tanner adding 13.

Ray Walker hit 10 outside and Doug Bender eight inside including the go ahead bucket in the final minute.

Burly Garth Heikkinen (6-4, 270) led the losers with 22, all but six in the second half. Montclair Chapman added 17 from long range and Mike Kerr 11.

Chapman and Kerr were the chief outside weapons, combining for seven treys as Bemidji collapsed its defense on Heikkinen in the lane.

Bemidji had only two treys, one each by Ray Walker and Ryan Rude.

Walker's came early as the Jacks jumped to a 6-2 lead at the start which survived the first Chapman bomb to stay at 10-7.


But Central then ran six to go ahead for the first time only to see Bemidji counter with six to take it back by two.

It see sawed back and forth until tied at 24-24 before Kerr's layup ended the half with Central leading by two 26-24.

Chapman had 11 at this juncture. Tanner Baker and Walker led Bemidji with six. Central had six more rebounds. The turnovers were even.

Kerr's second trey aided Central to a quick five point lead in the second half which reached 35-30 before a 9-4 Bemidji surge resulted in another tie at 39-39.

Bender's two free throws finally lifted the Jacks ahead 43-41 before another Kerr trey regained the Trojans advantage.

But a layup by Tanner Baker and a rebound bucket by Drew sent Bemidji to a 48-47 lead with six minutes to play.

At this point, Central launched a 9-2 run, opening with Chapman's final trey, and seemed to be in control at 56-50.

But Bemidji was not ready to die.


Two Rude free throw and two more by Drew Baker sliced the margin to two.

Another pair by Drew knotted the score and Bender's layup with 30 seconds left sent the Jacks ahead to stay.

Central missed a trey and Simon Anderson rebounded to draw a foul, netting the final two charity tosses for the four point margin.

Fueling the comeback was an 18-9 second half boards lead giving Bemidji 30 on the night to 27 for the Trojans. Bender led with six. Heikkinen had 10 for the Trojans

The cleanly played affair saw Bemidji with only 14 turnovers and Central with just 11.

B, C Teams win

Bemidji made it a complete sweep taking the B Team game 60-50 and the freshman contest 62-55.

The JV took a 28-21 halftime lead and added three more to the margin down the stretch.


With Ben Adams ill and Jordan Koepp on vacation, the Jacks were extremely shorthanded.

But they received season highs from Dan Frost (12), Nate McGriff (10) and Josh Kane 10.

Sam Weaver led the night with 18 as that quartet equaled the Central total.

Ben Poppen led the Trojans with 11.

The Freshmen closed 7-14 with a 62-55 win.

Harley Kroening had a season high 29 while Ben Hengel added 11 and Zach Jackson 9.

Laughlin took game honors with 20 for Central with Humes adding 15 and Tran 14.

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