BOYS BASKETBALL: Otters force OT, outlast Bemidji 67-62

021920.S.BP.BHSBBB Colten Jensen.jpg
Lumberjack senior Colten Jensen (51) hits a reverse layup in Saturday’s game against Fergus Falls at Bemidji High School. (Jillian Gandsey / Bemidji Pioneer)

BEMIDJI -- It’s the situation you envision in the driveway: tie game, clock winding down, one shot for the win.

It played out for real in the BHS Gymnasium on Saturday. The play started with Quincy Wilson’s hanging floater, then ended with Colten Jensen and Gavin Luksik’s putback opportunities. But all three shots bounced long or short or wide for the Bemidji High School boys basketball team, and Fergus Falls survived before claiming a 67-62 overtime win.

“It’s hard because the kids busted their tails to run with Fergus,” head coach Travis Peterson said. “They’re a really good basketball team. You have to work hard to put yourself in those positions, and you’re not going to win them all. But the boys are so competitive that it’s pretty bitter right now.”


The Otters (19-4) took the upper hand 16 seconds into overtime off Dominic Aguilar’s 3-pointer, and they protected the lead the rest of the way. Jensen answered with a reverse layup the next time down, but it was the Lumberjacks’ lone field goal of the extra frame.

“When you get behind on a good team, it’s hard to come back on them,” Peterson said. “They took care of the ball pretty well down the stretch and made their free throws. It’s a challenge to beat a good team like that.”

The game felt destined for overtime early on. A Silas Hess layup for a 12-2 Bemidji run and a 14-9 lead, but the Jacks (13-6) never extended their lead any further in the half. BHS led for the final 12 minutes, 30 seconds, and yet Fergus Falls held its own for a 27-24 deficit at the break.

The Otters assumed control with a 9-0 run early in the second half. However, their 40-36 lead was just as much a result of their switch to zone defense, which slowed the Bemidji offense and allowed their own to catch up.

“They went zone to start the second half and ran it the whole second half, minus a few possessions, and it forced us to pass the ball around and take longer possessions,” Peterson said. “We didn’t have as many opportunities to press (or) run. It shrinks the game a little bit. They’re a very good half-court team.”

The Lumberjacks roared back for a 47-43 lead with eight minutes left, but an 8-0 Fergus Falls run followed and continued the seesaw rallies.

After a 51-51 deadlock, BHS owned a 55-52 lead entering the final minute of regulation. But Brock Kotschevar drained a game-tying 3-pointer with 49 seconds remaining, and Bemidji couldn’t hit the winner on its three chances before the horn.


021920.S.BP.BHSBBB Ben Hess.jpg
Bemidji senior Ben Hess (4) guards Fergus Falls senior Ethan Olson (22) in a game Saturday at Bemidji High School. (Jillian Gandsey / Bemidji Pioneer)

“It looked like we got a good shot,” Peterson said. “Our bench was counting down the time, and once Quincy took that shot, their countdown kind of faded. We had a couple (putback) opportunities, but our rebounders didn’t realize there was actually time to come down with the ball, gather themselves and go back up strong. It was a good chance we could have scored.”

The Jacks fell behind by as many as six with 26.5 seconds left. Wilson drained five free throws from then on, but the Otters kept a tie out of reach by making their final six free throws.

“We played better (than in Tuesday’s loss) and felt like it’s a step in the right direction,” Peterson said. “We need to combine the effort and the execution on the same night. I still like our team and I think we’re going to be just fine.”

Jensen had a game-high 23 points and another 10 rebounds for Bemidji. Hess had 12 points, plus 11 apiece from Luksik and Wilson.

Aguilar finished with 18 points in the win, while 6-foot-11 Chance Fazio had 16 and Olson 15.

Bemidji next faces Becker at 7:30 p.m. Monday, Feb. 17, on the road.

Fergus Falls 67, Bemidji 62 (OT)


FF 24 31 12 -- 67

BHS 27 28 7 -- 62

FERGUS FALLS (19-4) -- Aguilar 18, Fazio 16, Olson 15, Kotschevar 5, Norgren 5, Jacobs 4, Aho 3, Newman 1.

BEMIDJI (13-6) -- Jensen 23, S. Hess 12, Luksik 11, Q. Wilson 11, Snell 3, Arel 2.

Micah Friez is the former sports editor at the Bemidji Pioneer. A native of East Grand Forks, Minn., he worked at the Pioneer from 2015-23 and is a 2018 graduate of Bemidji State University with a degree in Creative and Professional Writing.
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