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BOYS BASKETBALL: Lumberjacks blow past Governors in Christmas tournament

Celebrating “Silent Night,” the fans in the Bemidji High School student section were seated and quiet until this moment when Jacob Beberg hit a 3-pointer to score the Lumberjacks’ eighth, ninth and 10th points of Friday night’s game against St. Paul Johnson at BHS. (Ryan Pietruszewski | Bemidji Pioneer)1 / 3
Bemidji High School junior drives to the hoop during Friday night’s Lumberjacks game against St. Paul Johnson at BHS. (Ryan Pietruszewski | Bemidji Pioneer)2 / 3
Bemidji High School junior Quincy Wilson works his way around a St. Paul Johnson defender during Friday’s game at BHS. (Ryan Pietruszewski | Bemidji Pioneer)3 / 3

BEMIDJI -- The Bemidji High School boys basketball team kept perfect in convincing fashion on Friday.

Behind an energetic second half, the Lumberjacks stormed away from St. Paul Johnson and picked up a solid 74-58 victory at the BHS Gymnasium to open up the Bemidji Invitational, moving to an unblemished 4-0 on the young season.

“I think it’s a statement that we’re on our way,” BHS assistant coach Steve Thompson said of the win. “Our goal is to win a section title. This is a big win, but our process is to get better one day at a time.”

The Lumberjacks did so on Friday, though choppy play and constant whistles prevented a flow from forming for much of the first half. After an ice-cold start, Jacob Beberg finally gave fans something to cheer about by drilling a corner 3-pointer that put Bemidji (4-0) ahead 10-9.

The Governors (3-2) snuck back into a 14-12 lead on a Larry Harris bucket, but the Lumberjacks began to build up a lead from then on.

After a 17-17 tie, Spencer Konecne sparked a run for BHS with an and-one basket off a baseline throw in. Quincy Wilson pitched in a three, and Kade Peterson sunk a free throw for a double-digit difference at 31-21 entering the break.

Thompson said adjusting its style of play made a big difference for BHS.

“I thought we adapted much better in the second half to the way the game was called,” he said. “We talked about it at halftime: We’ve just got to move our feet and keep our hands off. It’s one thing to say it, it’s another thing for the boys to go out and execute it. They did that.”

Bemidji continued to pull away in the second half. Colten Jensen put in a free throw and a 3-pointer to start a 8-0 run shortly out of the locker rooms. Ryan Bieberdorf followed when Ben Hess found him near the rim for an easy two, and Jensen capped the spurt with a putback for a 42-25 game.

The separation continued when Konecne scored inside on three straight possessions, and Isaac Burley added a 3-pointer for a 54-29 lead off a 9-0 spurt.

St. Paul Johnson made a push from there, finishing an 11-1 run with seven straight points to climb within 15. But Bieberdorf converted on a smooth fast-break layup to end the stretch, and Konecne added a two-handed flush that served as the dagger in the 74-58 win.

“We were able to convert a little bit in our press break. That helped us,” Thompson said. “In the half court, getting post touches, getting inside-out looks (helped us pull away). That was a focus of ours at halftime, and we did it in the second half.”

Konecne finished with 17 points to pace the Jacks, while Jensen chipped in 15 and Bieberdorf nine. For the Governors, Jordan Mobley put up 26 to lead all scorers.

The Lumberjacks will be back on the court at 2 p.m. today for the Bemidji Invitational finale against Orono at the BHS Gymnasium.

Bemidji 74, St. Paul Johnson 58

SPJ 21 37 -- 58

BHS 31 43 -- 74

Micah Friez

Micah Friez is a sports reporter for the Bemidji Pioneer. A native of East Grand Forks, Minn., he is a 2018 graduate of Bemidji State University with a degree in Creative and Professional Writing. Follow him on Twitter at @micahfriez for Lumberjack and Beaver updates.

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