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BOYS BASKETBALL: Jacks survive 74-73 in overtime win

Bemidji High School senior Spencer Konecne goes up for a shot in the paint during the Lumberjacks’ game against Orono on Saturday at BHS. (Ryan Pietruszewski | Bemidji Pioneer)1 / 3
Bemidji High School senior Jacob Beberg starts a drive along the baseline in the second half of Saturday’s game against Orono at BHS. (Ryan Pietruszewski | Bemidji Pioneer)2 / 3
Bemidji High School senior Ryan Bieberdorf lays one up an in during the first half of Saturday’s game against Orono at BHS. (Ryan Pietruszewski | Bemidji Pioneer)3 / 3

BEMIDJI -- The Bemidji High School boys basketball team sure didn’t make things easy on itself on Saturday. But that wasn’t necessarily a bad thing in a 74-73 overtime win over Orono at the BHS Gymnasium as part of the Bemidji Invitational.

“We probably needed this, to have a close game and need to gut it out at the end,” Lumberjacks head coach Travis Peterson said. “That’s the first time we’ve had to do that this season. We probably needed that. Hopefully, we’ll be prepared for that if it happens again.”

Bemidji (5-0) saw its 12-point second-half lead disappear by the final buzzer, setting up an overtime where the Spartans (3-7) just wouldn’t go away. Kade Peterson sunk two free throws for a 73-67 edge, but Eli Sustacek hit a pair of tough 3-pointers that sandwiched a free throw from Quincy Wilson.

Down one, Orono regained possession for the final shot, but Sustacek’s game-winning attempt from downtown fell well short.

“We played really good defense and stopped the ball,” senior Spencer Konecne said of the difference in overtime. “We needed a close game like this to get experience. It’ll help us down the road.”

Bemidji started slow out of the gates, falling behind 14-8 seven minutes in. But the Jacks eventually worked back into a 21-all tie on a pair of Cole Milz free throws, which helped spark an 11-0 run that vaulted BHS ahead 28-21.

Ryan Bieberdorf finished the surge by turning a steal into a layup, and later Konecne hit a short jumper at the buzzer for a 35-28 advantage at the break.

“We were lucky to be where we were at halftime,” Peterson said. “We didn’t rebound the ball very well in the first half. … But we did have low turnovers in the first half, and we did turn them over quite a few times. We got more possessions than them and were able to get a few more buckets in that first half.”

Although Orono climbed back within a possession at 47-44, Bemidji built up a 12-point advantage midway through the second half when Colten Jensen finished inside off a crafty assist from Quincy Wilson.

The Lumberjacks made a habit of answering all the Spartan pushes down the stretch, but Orono finally broke through for a 67-66 lead on a Nick Prentice turnaround with under two minutes remaining.

“They’re strong, they’re athletic and they’re long,” Peterson said of the Spartans. “They didn’t have a big post player, but all of their guys were just nice sized, long, athletic guys. I think that was a big part of (them staying in the game). They were cutting us off on penetration. They were getting deflections.”

Konecne put in a free throw from there, setting up the overtime frame after a 67-all deadlock, but Bemidji prevailed in the final seconds to sweep its home holiday invite.

“Second half was where I was pleased with our aggressive attack to the basket,” Peterson said. “(We were) staying aggressive, and we got more post touches in the second half. That was really a benefit to us offensively.”

Konecne finished with 17 points and 15 rebounds to lead the Lumberjacks, while Bieberdorf and Wilson each pitched in 13 points. For Orono, Simon Rice put up a game-high 23, and Sustacek added 12.

Bemidji will open the new year with a 2:45 p.m. meeting against Minneapolis Southwest on Saturday, Jan. 5, as part of the Crossover Classic in Perham.

Bemidji 74, Orono 73 (OT)

OHS 28 39 6 -- 73

BHS 35 32 7 -- 74

ORONO -- Rice 23, Sustacek 12, Prentice 11, Farrell 7, Beltrand 6, Patterson 5, Delaney 4, Nyquist 3, Berrell 2.

BEMIDJI -- Konecne 17, Bieberdorf 13, Wilson 13, Snell 8, Jensen 7, Beberg 6, Burley 3, Peterson 3, B. Hess 2, Milz 2.

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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