BEMIDJI -- For all the weapons it likes on the offensive end of the floor, the Bemidji High School girls basketball team devolved into a one-dimensional attack on Tuesday night.

The Lumberjacks only had a single offensive option in the second half, which pigeonholed BHS into a 55-40 home loss to Grand Rapids in its regular season finale.

“I don’t feel like we’re one-dimensional, but tonight we definitely were,” Bemidji head coach Steve Schreiber said. “When I feel like I’ve got five other girls out there who can score, and really only one does it, it’s frustrating.”

Emily Wade had 12 points after halftime, including the team’s first 10 out of the locker room, but that and one Alexie Tatro free throw were all the Jacks had until the Thunderhawks put things out of reach in the final minute.

“Grand Rapids, to their credit, they’re long and they’re tall. But we’ve got to be way more aggressive on offense,” Schreiber said. “It’s just been frustrating because we’ve been a one-half team against good teams pretty much all season long. And we just cannot piece together a second half.”

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In the opening frame, the Thunderhawks (15-3) broke from an 8-8 tie with an 8-0 run to double up BHS (8-10). The difference continued to grow to double digits as late as 22-12, but then Bemidji started inching back in.

Wade and Beth Bolte converted back-to-back layups as part of a 6-0 push, and shortly thereafter, Marlee Bieber had a layup of her own for a one-possession game at 25-22.

Grand Rapids ultimately carried a 29-24 edge into halftime, yet Wade’s personal 6-0 run to open the final frame vaulted BHS ahead 31-30.

Bemidji senior Emily Wade (3) shoots in the second half against Grand Rapids on Tuesday at the BHS Gymnasium. (Jillian Gandsey / Bemidji Pioneer)
Bemidji senior Emily Wade (3) shoots in the second half against Grand Rapids on Tuesday at the BHS Gymnasium. (Jillian Gandsey / Bemidji Pioneer)

The Thunderhawks didn’t score for the first 4:39 of the second half, but Grand Rapids finally answered back and reeled off six straight points to reclaim the lead for good.

Tatro drained a free throw with 8:37 to play, Bemidji’s first point of the second half from anyone other than Wade, to keep the Lumberjacks within 39-35. But Grand Rapids scored the next 10 points as part of a decisive 16-2 run over the next six-plus minutes.

“We were talking about control early in the game,” Schreiber said. “We wanted to control our possessions and take control of the game. The issue comes when we can’t score. We got really soft on offense in the second half.”

Wade finished with 20 points to tie a season-high, but no other BHS scorer had more than six points. Taryn Hamling led the Thunderhawks with 19 in the win.

Bemidji will open the Section 8-3A Tournament as the No. 3 seed, hosting sixth-seeded Sauk Rapids-Rice at 7 p.m. Thursday, March 18, at the BHS Gymnasium. And so the Lumberjacks won’t focus on Thursday’s loss for long.

“The important games start on Thursday,” Schreiber said. “We’re just going to have to have a short memory. … We’ll get back after it offensively and get back in that aggressive mindset. It’s a brand new season. I feel like we’re better than an 8-10 team. We need the playoffs to show it.”



Grand Rapids 55, Bemidji 40

GR 29 26 -- 55

BHS 24 16 -- 40

GRAND RAPIDS (15-3) -- Hamling 19, Bowman 10, Jamtgaard 10, Lofstrom 9, LaPlant 7.

BEMIDJI (8-10) -- Wade 20, Johnson 6, Milbrandt 6, Hildenbrand 3, M. Bieber 2, Bolte 2, Tatro 1.