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On to the 8-4A semifinals

Prior to the Section 8-4A boys basketball tournament Bemidji coach Jeff Brown predicted that the underdogs would give the favorites all they could handle. Each of the eight teams in the tournament sported records above .500 and during the regular...

Prior to the Section 8-4A boys basketball tournament Bemidji coach Jeff Brown predicted that the underdogs would give the favorites all they could handle. Each of the eight teams in the tournament sported records above .500 and during the regular season eighth-ranked Brainerd defeated top-seeded Buffalo by 21 points.

Tuesday in the quarterfinals Brown's prediction came true as the sixth-seeded Lumberjacks eliminated third-seeded Elk River 67-64 in Elk River.

Carey Woods drained a 3-pointer with 10 seconds to play and that bucket provided the winning points in a spirited high school basketball game.

"Carey squared himself for the shot and drilled it," Brown said. "We came to Elk River and pulled off the upset but I wouldn't be surprised if it wasn't the only one of the night."

It wasn't.

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Tuesday's victory advanced Bemidji into the 8-4A semifinals and an 11:30 a.m. game Saturday at St. Cloud State against No. 2 Rogers which defeated No. 7 St. Cloud Tech.

Prior to that game eighth-seeded Brainerd will tangle with No. 5 Moorhead. In Tuesday's action Brainerd stunned Buffalo and No. 5 Moorhead upset No. 4 St. Michael-Albertville.

Bemidji and the Elks played on even terms throughout the game.

In the first half Elk River forged a 37-31 advantage with 1:20 to play but BHS answered with buckets by Woods and Connor Sullivan in the final minute to draw within 37-35 at the break.

Bemidji began the second stanza with another 4-0 run as Woods converted a fast break and Jeff Brown found room in the paint and two minutes into the final period the Jacks owned a 39-37 lead.

BHS maintained a slight cushion during the next 10 minutes but the home team eventually tied the game 53-53 with 8:50 to play when Clay Elrod contributed a 3-point play with a drive and a foul.

Cody Rutledge's baseline move and Devaughn Rainey's bucket on the break regained a 59-55 advantage for the Lumberjacks but Elk River stayed within range and Elrod's put-back bucket with 1:40 to play knotted the score 64-64.

After Bemidji misfired on a shot Elk River threw a pass out of bounds with 43 seconds to play to set the stage for Woods' game-winner.

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"It was a great game. The kids played hard and that is what it takes at this level," Brown said. "I'm happy for the kids. They worked the entire night and were rewarded."

Rutledge finished with 21 points while Woods had 13 and Sullivan 12.

Bemidji (67)

Rainey 4, 2-2, 10; Rutledge 8, 5-5, 21; Brown 2, 0-0, 4; Supalla 0, 2-2, 2; Woods 5, 1-2, 13; Cervenka 2, 0-0, 5; Sullivan 5, 2-2, 12; Declusin 0, 0-0, 0. Totals: 26, 12-13, 67

Elk River (64)

T.Morrell 5, 2-2, 17; Ness 0, 1-2, 1; P.Morrell 6, 1-2, 15; Elrod 7, 5-7, 20; Werner 2, 1-2, 7; Hayes 0, 0-0, 0; Edewards 1, 0-0, 2. Totals: 21, 12-17, 64

3-point FG: Bemidji 3 (Woods 2, Cervenka 1); Elk River 10

Fouls: Bemidji 19, Elk River 10

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Halftime: Elk River 37, Bemidji 35

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The following is a letter to the editor submitted by a reader and does not reflect the views of the Pioneer. Letters can be sent to letters@bemidjipioneer.com or P.O. Box 455, Bemidji, MN 56601.