BOYS BASKETBALL: Lumberjacks dominate TRF for Peterson's first head coaching win
BEMIDJI -- In Travis Peterson's first game as Bemidji High School boys basketball coach last Friday, the Lumberjacks hung with Detroit Lakes but the Lakers ultimately pulled away for a 71-58 victory.On Tuesday night, back home in Bemidji, Peterso...
BEMIDJI - In Travis Peterson’s first game as Bemidji High School boys basketball coach last Friday, the Lumberjacks hung with Detroit Lakes but the Lakers ultimately pulled away for a 71-58 victory.
On Tuesday night, back home in Bemidji, Peterson’s team performed much better.
The Lumberjacks capitalized on lots of turnovers and held Thief River Falls to just two second-half field goals as they dominated the Prowlers 53-36 to earn their first victory of the season. It was also the first win for Peterson as head coach.
“It feels good... everybody says the first one is the hardest one,” he said. “But I expect us to win every time out. We’re going to come at every team this season. The kids expect it and I expect it.”
It was quite the turnaround for the Lumberjacks, who finished with five wins last season. The Prowlers, meanwhile, went 17-10 and beat the Lumberjacks twice a season ago.
But on Tuesday, the roles looked reversed. The Lumberjacks (1-1) came out firing. Josh Cervenka, Charlie Peterson and Cayden Rolfes got BHS out to an 18-8 lead with solid inside play and a pair of three-pointers.
Three straight jumpers by Jeremy Beberg put the Lumberjacks up 24-8, halfway through the first half. That caused the Prowlers to take a timeout and regroup.
That seemed to work, as they outscored the Lumberjacks 13-4 over the next nine minutes to cut Bemidji’s lead to 28-21 at halftime.
“We played a lot of guys in the first half, and we actually substituted a wholesale gameplan,” Peterson said. “We brought a lot of energy there in the first ten minutes, but then we kinda got away from communicating on defense and let them creep back into it late in the first half.”
But Peterson said the Lumberjacks are already doing a good job recognizing what’s wrong.
“The kids kinda knew what we were going to bring up,” he said. ”Their basketball intelligence is improving across the squad, and they kinda know what we’re going to say, and that’s good.”
The Prowlers (0-1) scored the first points of the second half on a pair of free throws to cut it to 28-23, but that was as close as they got.
The Lumberjacks went on a 17-8 run in the next nine minutes to take a commanding lead.
It wasn’t perfect, however - BHS committed 13 second-half fouls to allow the Prowlers to head to the free throw line and earn a few points back. Luckily for the Jacks, the Prowlers made only 9 of 16 foul shots in the second half.
“We had some turnovers on our own, and we can work on those,” Peterson said. “We also had a few ill-advised fouls. We do play aggressively, and you’re going to get fouls when you play aggressively. We don’t want to foul that much and down the stretch there we had a few that stopped the clock and let them score with the clock stopped.”
TRF ultimately made only two field goals in the second half - Colton Koestner and Brady Hoffard were the only Prowlers to make baskets.
The Lumberjacks had a balanced scoring, with Rolfes and Cervanka each scoring 15 while Charlie Peterson added nine.
The Lumberjacks stay home this weekend when they will host the Bemidji Invitational on Friday. BHS will take on Crookston at 8 p.m.; St. Cloud Cathedral and Grand Rapids will play in the early game at 6 p.m.