ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

GIRLS BASKETBALL: Bemidji defense executes, but offense loses steam in 48-35 loss

The problem with a pedal-to-the-metal approach, as the Bemidji High School girls basketball team learned Tuesday night, is that speed demons become vulnerable to running out of gas.

121022.S.BP.BHSGBB Sage Zetah-Cornelius.jpg
Bemidji senior Sage Zetah-Cornelius, left, guards Grand Rapids' Taryn Hamling, right, during the first half against Grand Rapids on Tuesday, Dec. 6, 2022, at the BHS Gymnasium.
Maggi Fellerman / Bemidji Pioneer
We are part of The Trust Project.

BEMIDJI -- The problem with a pedal-to-the-metal approach, as the Bemidji High School girls basketball team learned Tuesday night, is that speed demons become vulnerable to running out of gas.

Such was the story for the Lumberjacks, who made a valiant defensive effort against Grand Rapids at the BHS Gymnasium but ran out of steam in a 48-35 loss.

“Our ladies, I’m so proud of the way they competed tonight,” first-year head coach Darin Schultz said. “We hung in there. But there are some things that we can clean up and have every chance to win those games.”

The difference came late in each half. By pouring out a fervent defensive effort against Taryn Hamling -- the Thunderhawks’ senior point guard who’s committed to North Dakota State -- Bemidji didn’t have the steam to power through offensively. The Jacks mustered a combined four points in the final five minutes of each half, and Grand Rapids outscored them 16-4 within those 10 minutes.

121022.S.BP.BHSGBB Kate Corradi.jpg
Bemidji sophomore Kate Corradi (3) looks to score during the first half against Grand Rapids on Tuesday, Dec. 6, 2022, at the BHS Gymnasium.
Maggi Fellerman / Bemidji Pioneer

“We executed our game plan exactly how we needed to,” Schultz said. “We kept them to 48 points, and it gave us a chance to stay in the game. We had some (takeaways), we had some rebounds where we were able to get out and run. Unfortunately, tonight we just made too many turnovers. We gave them too many more possessions than we had.”

ADVERTISEMENT

Even so, Schultz praised the intensive efforts of Sage Zetah-Cornelius and Kate Corradi, who were tasked with sticking to Hamling like glue. They face-guarded Hamling for most of the night, often subbing in for one another to alternate shifts, and kept Hamling to just five field goals on the night.

“They took on a really tough task. They guarded probably one of the best players in northern Minnesota,” Schultz said. “Those two are exhausted. They worked their tails off to compete and lock her down, and they did that almost the entire game.”

BHS (1-2) hung tough for most of the first half, even tying the game at 17-17 when Mya Vincent assisted a pair of Katey Milbrandt layups and then hit a floater of her own. Vincent’s basket kept the game level with 5:01 remaining in the half, but Grand Rapids exploited a tired Lumberjacks group from then on.

121022.S.BP.BHSGBB Mya Vincent.jpg
Bemidji senior Mya Vincent (31) drives to the lane during the first half against Grand Rapids on Tuesday, Dec. 6, 2022, at the BHS Gymnasium.
Maggi Fellerman / Bemidji Pioneer

The Thunderhawks (3-2) ended the first half on a 10-0 run for their largest lead of the game. The final blow -- three Hamling free throws after she was fouled on a wild half-court prayer with 0.3 seconds remaining -- sank Bemidji into a 27-17 deficit by the break.

Grand Rapids soon opened up a 38-22 advantage with an 8-0 run early in the second half. The Lumberjacks clawed back with a 9-2 spurt, however, which Beth Bolte capped on a deep 3-pointer, and returned the margin to single digits at 40-31.

The comeback was possible by way of a BHS defense that held the Thunderhawks scoreless for over four minutes, but a taxing effort on that end prevented Bemidji from having more in the tank to consistently solve Grand Rapids’ 1-3-1 zone defense.

“(The Thunderhawks) are a really good team,” Schultz said. “They’re going to win a lot of games and have a chance to go to the state tournament.”

121022.S.BP.BHSGBB Beth Bolte.jpg
Bemidji senior Beth Bolte (23) pulls up for a jump shot during the first half against Grand Rapids on Tuesday, Dec. 6, 2022, at the BHS Gymnasium.
Maggi Fellerman / Bemidji Pioneer

Bolte finished the night with a Lumberjack-high 13 points, while Milbrandt tallied 11.

ADVERTISEMENT

Hamling led all scorers with 18 points, which included a 7-for-8 mark at the free-throw line.

Bemidji will next challenge St. Michael-Albertville at 7 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 9, in St. Michael.

Grand Rapids 48, Bemidji 35

GR 27 21 -- 48

BHS 17 18 -- 35

GRAND RAPIDS -- Hamling 18, Giffen 10, Lofstrom 8, Scherping 4, Hostetter 3, LaPlant 3, Jamtgaard 2.

BEMIDJI -- Bolte 13, Milbrandt 11, Bieber 4, Peterson 4, Vincent 2, Corradi 1.

121022.S.BP.BHSGBB Katey Milbrandt.jpg
Bemidji junior Katey Milbrandt (20) gets a layup on a fast break during the first half against Grand Rapids on Tuesday, Dec. 6, 2022, at the BHS Gymnasium.
Maggi Fellerman / Bemidji Pioneer
121022.S.BP.BHSGBB Kristen McRae.jpg
New Bemidji High School activities director Kristen McRae interacts with the student section during halftime of a girls basketball game between the Lumberjacks and Grand Rapids on Tuesday, Dec. 6, 2022, at the BHS Gymnasium.
Maggi Fellerman / Bemidji Pioneer

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.
What To Read Next
The Bemidji High School boys hockey team lost to St. Michael-Albertville 3-2 on Saturday night at the Bemidji Community Arena.
The Bemidji girls wrestlers took second place in a 59-team field at Pine Island High School on Saturday.
The Bemidji High School boys swimming and diving team took second place at the Park Rapids Last Chance Invitational on Saturday.
The Bemidji High School girls basketball team beat Rocori 58-45 on Saturday afternoon at home.