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GIRLS BASKETBALL: Cold start dooms Bemidji to 69-46 loss

BEMIDJI -- A demanding week culminated on Saturday for the Bemidji High School basketball team with a 69-46 loss to Alexandria at the BHS Gymnasium.

“I don’t like to make excuses, but we were half a step slow today,” Lumberjacks head coach Steve Schreiber said. “We played very physical against Grand Rapids and we matched physicality with… Hopkins (earlier this week). We looked a little beat up today.”

Bemidji (6-13) faced inside pressure from the get-go, as the Cardinals (13-3) scored every point of a 9-0 run from the paint or the free throw line. The final basket, an and-one score for Courtney Gould, put Alex in an 11-3 lead five minutes in.

Ciara Cermak responded with an and-one layup of her own, but then the Cards ran off another dominant spurt -- this one a 10-1 advantage -- to take a 21-7 lead. The half finished with a 31-14 score, ending a frustrating start for BHS.

“I feel like we settled a little bit, took some 3-pointers that we could’ve worked around a little bit more and then gotten those 3-pointers, which may have gotten us better looks,” Schreiber said. “But it was just one of those halves. We seem to have one of those halves once a week or so where we’re just cold.”

Samantha Edlund got hot in the second half, netting eight early points. But despite a pair of nothing-but-net Edlund 3-pointers within the first five minutes, Alexandria still took a 51-29 lead soon after through an inside score from Emily Jones.

Bemidji ran off seven straight from there, though, finished by a layup and a three for Allison Beard, cutting the deficit to 51-36. It tightened to 52-39 when Macy Flatness tacked on a free throw, but then the Cardinals took off.

Jones turned the next possession into a bucket inside on a second-chance opportunity, and the Lumberjacks never came as close again. Kaye Paschka shut the door with three minutes left, taking a steal the other way for an and-one layup. It sent Alex into a 63-41 lead and well on its way to the 69-46 final.

“We just wanted to get it back in it. We were hoping for single digits, and then you never know,” Schreiber said. “This team just would not lose the game if they’re up 17 points. They’ve got a Hall of Fame coach (in Wendy Kohler) and girls who have been through the system… You don’t make up for 17 points.”

Edlund finished with 11 to lead Bemidji, while Katie Alto added 10 and Beard eight. For the Cards, Gould and Paschka racked up 16 apiece and Emily Jones added another 10 in the win.

“We can’t be half a step slow in the playoffs. We just talked in the locker room about the fact that I think we come out of this week more physical,” Schreiber said. “We’ll have four days to recover now. We should be able to take some of that physicality to the teams that we’ve got coming up who are more our size.”

Bemidji will be back in action at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 1, against Duluth East and the BHS Gymnasium.

Alexandria 69, Bemidji 46

AHS 31 38 -- 69

BHS 14 32 -- 46

Alexandria scorers: Gould 16, Paschka 16, Jones 10, McGrane 8, Grove 7, Duwenhoegger 6, Schmidt 3, Kvale 2, Strand 1.

Bemidji scorers: Edlund 11, Alto 10, Beard 8, Nicklason 4, Cermak 3, Flatness 3, Mills 3, Whelan 2, Neubeck 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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