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GIRLS BASKETBALL: Struggle-riddled first half dooms Jacks against EGF

Bemidji High School senior Kennedy Mills (23) attempts to shoot in the first half of the game Tuesday against East Grand Forks at BHS. (Jillian Gandsey | Bemidji Pioneer)1 / 2
Bemidji High School junior Mackenzie Nicklason (25) grabs a rebound and puts up another shot in Tuesday's game against East Grand Forks at BHS. (Jillian Gandsey | Bemidji Pioneer)2 / 2

BEMIDJI -- By the time the Bemidji High School girls basketball team had an answer for East Grand Forks, the margin was too wide, and the Green Wave came away with a 70-48 win Tuesday at BHS.

EGF (18-5) struck quickly, using a 14-point run to jump out to an 18-4 lead after eight minutes of play.

“We tried to make adjustments early in the first half with those three timeouts, and they just weren’t quite getting the concepts that I was trying to talk about over the 30 seconds I got to talk to them,” BHS head coach Steve Schreiber said.

It wasn’t until the break that Bemidji (8-15) finally had the time to go over what adjustments they had to make, which was enough time for the Green Wave to build up to a 44-18 lead.

“We went out (in the second half), and we wanted to be more physical,” Schreiber said. “I was talking about physicality all first half, and it seemed like we were just a little bit softer than they were the whole first half. It really came down to us being physical and attacking the hoop.”

The Lumberjacks won the second half 30-26. Ryssa Whelan’s 10 total points all came in the final 18 minutes, trailing only Macy Flatness (11) for the Bemidji lead for the game.

A Flatness field goal and a Whelan layup ended an 8-2 Jacks run to cut the deficit to 20 at 65-45, but EGF held them off from there and took the 70-48 win.

“Our 1-2-1-1 press ended up putting a little bit extra pressure on them, and we covered up well on it,” Schreiber said. “I think that kind of gave us the confidence that we could play physical against them, and after that everything else kind of flowed.”

Brooke Filipi led the Green Wave with 19 points, followed by McKenna Aitchison’s 15 and Macy Skyberg’s 10.

Prior to the game, BHS seniors Katie Alto, Samantha Edlund, Kennedy Mills, Ciara Cemak, Klaryssa Whelan and Morgan Schlee were honored for their efforts in the girls program.

Although Schreiber, a second-year head coach, said he wished he had more time coaching this year’s senior class, he knows it’s a special one.

“There’s a lot of smiles from this group, and even though we’re not going to have a winning record this year, and the year probably didn’t pan out as we had hoped for, this group doesn’t stop smiling,” he said. “They have a lot of fun at practice, they enjoy the game of basketball. It doesn’t matter if it’s a girl that plays a ton of minutes for me or a girl that doesn’t play any minutes at all, it always makes my heart a little heavy when they have to walk away, because I just want that one more game with them and that one more year with them. It’s no different with this group.”

The Jacks head to Grand Rapids for a 7:15 p.m. game Tuesday, Feb. 20, before hosting Moorhead at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Feb. 23, for the regular season finale.

“I think that – regardless of how this game went, regardless of how the next two games go – I truly believe that this team is going to be completely ready for that first playoff game, and I think that we’ve got just as good a chance as anybody at winning that first playoff game,” said Schreiber.

East Grand Forks 70, Bemidji 48

EGF 44 26 -- 70

BHS 18 30 -- 48

East Grand Forks Scoring -- Filipi 19, Aitchison 15, Skyberg 10, Carlstrom 7, Burger 7, Warmack 6, Olson 6.

Bemidji Scoring -- Flatness 11, Huberty 10, Mills 6, Edlund 4, Beard 4, Cermak 4, Jones 2, Alto 2, Hildenbrand 2, Nicklason 2, Wade 1.