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GIRLS BASKETBALL: Bemidji shooting amiss in 61-42 loss to Hibbing

Bemidji High School senior Allison Beard (15) makes a drive in Tuesday’s game against Hibbing at the BHS Gymnasium. (Jillian Gandsey | Bemidji Pioneer)1 / 2
Bemidji High School junior Katie Alto (10) attempts a shot in the first half of Tuesday’s game against Hibbing at the BHS Gymnasium. (Jillian Gandsey | Bemidji Pioneer)2 / 2

BEMIDJI -- Tuesday was not a kind night for shooters on the Bemidji High School girls basketball team.

The Lumberjacks succumbed to unfriendly rims and a shooting slump all game, dropping a 61-42 decision to Hibbing in their home opener at the BHS Gymnasium.

“We shot terrible. That’s what it comes down to,” Bemidji head coach Steve Schreiber said. “(It’s) just a little frustrating because this is our home court and we should be used to these rims and this floor. We just didn’t have it.”

On 3-point attempts, BHS shot 0-for-15 in the first half and finished just 4-for-30 from downtown. Nothing inside came much easier, either.

“You’re not going to win many games (like that),” Schreiber said. “I thought our half-court defense was much improved, but it doesn’t matter how good of defense we play if we can’t shoot the ball.”

The defensive effort showed early for the Lumberjacks (1-2), but on the other end, BHS couldn’t find a groove against the Bluejackets’ tight 2-3 zone. Bemidji forced inside in lieu of swinging the ball to open passing lanes, resulting in just two points over the opening six minutes.

Hibbing (2-1) fed off turnovers, using extra opportunities to spark a 9-0 run and 11-2 lead.

Lindsey Hildenbrand helped keep the Jacks close, going coast-to-coast for a left-handed finish that made for a 21-13 game with 5 minutes, 43 seconds remaining in the first half. But the suffocating Bluejacket defense launched Hibbing to a 30-17 advantage by the break.

“We were looking to shoot them out of the zone,” Schreiber said. “We got 15 3-pointers in the first half, and probably 10-12 of those were good looks. We’ve got to hit four or five of those shots. We hit those, then we’re up two instead of down 13. That’s a huge swing for us.”

The Bluejackets never let the lead slip after halftime. Although Rumer Flatness and Allison Beard combined for back-to-back threes early in the second half, Hibbing answered with an 11-0 run for a 46-23 advantage.

Beard used her quick release to connect on another two triples, and Flatness mixed in a few bright flashes of offense herself, but nothing knocked Hibbing off its path to the 61-42 victory.

Flatness finished with a team-high 17 points for the Jacks, while Beard tallied 11 and Hildenbrand seven to make up 35 of 42 Bemidji points. Abbey McDonald headlined the Bluejacket cause with a game-high 22 points.

“If we can win these next two games, then we can be right about where we expected to be. But we’ve got a lot of stuff to fix,” Schreiber said. “Like I said, we played better half-court defense tonight than we have all year, but we’ve got to shoot the ball. The name of the game in basketball is putting the ball through the hoop, and we’re not doing it right now.”

Bemidji will return to its home hardwood at 7:15 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 8, to host Grand Rapids at the BHS Gymnasium.

Hibbing 61, Bemidji 42

HHS 30 31 -- 61

BHS 17 25 -- 42

HIBBING (2-1) -- McDonald 22, Hawkinson 9, Toumi 9, Maki 6, Turner 5, Manning 3, Clusiau 2, Lampton 2, Robinson 2, Schacht 1.

BEMIDJI (1-2) -- R. Flatness 17, Beard 11, Hildenbrand 7, Matheney 4, M. Flatness 2, E. Wade 1.

Micah Friez

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

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