GIRLS BASKETBALL: Knights burn Jacks with 24-0 run, coveted D-I recruit
The Lumberjacks have faced Paige Bueckers. They've matched up with Katie Borowicz. Saturday’s game against St. Michael-Albertville -- an ultimate 84-30 loss -- felt a lot like that.
BEMIDJI -- The Bemidji High School girls basketball team has faced Paige Bueckers. The Lumberjacks have matched up with Katie Borowicz.
Saturday’s game against St. Michael-Albertville -- an ultimate 84-30 loss inside the BHS Gymnasium -- felt a lot like that.
“When you have a player of that magnitude, it makes you really have to be perfect,” Bemidji head coach Steve Schreiber said. “They’re bigger than us and deeper than us. They kind of wore us down at that point.”
The Knights have the kind of talent that reminds fans of Bueckers, the Hopkins star now playing at UConn, or Borowicz, the Roseau product now at the University of Minnesota.
STMA holds a prized piece of its own in 6-foot junior guard Tessa Johnson, who has Division I offers all over the country and is one of the hottest recruits in Minnesota.
“Tessa’s going to be a stud,” Schreiber said. “She’s going to be a very, very good Division I basketball player.”
Johnson poured in an easy 28 points for St. Michael-Albertville, more than enough for a 54-point win that wore the Jacks down.
“When we get tired, we’re stepping back instead of finding a way to push through,” Schreiber said. “Obviously they’re the fourth-best team in Class 4A for a reason. … But I still think a big portion of (the loss) has to do with us getting tired and not being able to play through being tired.”
That was never more evident than the final 7:33 of the first half, when the Knights went on an overwhelming and all-encompassing 24-0 run to close the frame.
BHS was hanging around -- sticking within 27-17 after 10 minutes of play. But then the STMA defense started to suffocate the Bemidji offense, ultimately taking a decisive 51-17 lead into halftime.
“When we play hard, when we play strong, when we play focused, we hang with anybody,” Schreiber said. “It comes down to getting mentally tough. … If you can hang within 10 points for 10 minutes, there’s no reason why you should lose by 54 outside of that tired factor.”
St. Michael-Albertville got ahead 56-18 early in the second half on a Johnson 3-pointer. It gave her 20 points on the afternoon, more than all the Lumberjacks combined. She nearly kept up the pace all game, only trailing by two by the finish.
Running clock brought a swift end to the matchup, protecting BHS from a worse score when it just wasn’t their day.
“(Johnson) is tall, but she’s a point guard,” Schreiber said. “We don’t have anybody who can match up with her outside. We don’t have anybody who can match up with her inside. … Without Tessa on the floor, I think our girls would have made that a lot closer of a game.”
Jackie Johnson finished with 11 points as the lone Bemidji scorer in double figures. Beth Bolte chipped in nine.
The Jacks will try to get back on track during a rematch of last week’s win over Alexandria . Tipoff is set for 7:15 p.m. Friday, Jan. 14, in Alexandria.
St. Michael-Albertville 84, Bemidji 30
STMA 51 33 -- 84
BHS 17 13 -- 30
ST. MICHAEL-ALBERTVILLE (11-2) -- T. Johnson 28, Craft 15, Miller 13, A. Hoselton 9, L. Hoselton 6, Voigt 5, Diaz 4, Jahnke 2, Lindeman 2.
BEMIDJI (4-6) -- J. Johnson 11, Bolte 9, Pemberton 4, M. Bieber 2, Lish 2, Hildenbrand 1, Milbrandt 1.