A strong close to the first half helped propel Bemidji boys basketball to a 77-66 victory over Sartell-St. Stephen on Saturday at the Bemidji High School Fieldhouse in the first meeting between the two teams since the Jacks defeated the Sabres for the Section 8AAA title last season.
Bench scoring played an important role for the Lumberjacks in the win, particularly late in the first half. Matt Arel scored a team-high 15 points off the bench, including burying a pair of threes to push the lead into double figures.
Good ball movement freed up an opportunity for Colton Jensen inside during the first-half run as well, as the Jacks took a 39-25 lead into halftime.
The lead stayed relatively maintained in the second half despite a better offensive period from the Sabres. Transition points played an important role, among them steals turned into baskets at the other end from both Quincy Wilson and Nick Snell.
Arel remained on the mark from beyond the arc, sinking yet another three in the second half.
Wilson provided much of his scoring at the free throw line to help the Lumberjacks maintain their lead late as Sartell tried to make a run, but he also showed his ability to score off the dribble.
In addition to Arel’s 15 points, Wilson provided 14, Snell had 12 off the bench, and Jensen and Silas Hess were also in double figures with 11 and 10 points respectively.
The win moves Bemidji to 13-4 overall ahead of a second meeting this season with Hermantown. Gametime on Tuesday is slated for 6:15pm from the Bemidji High School Fieldhouse.
Postgame interview with Bemidji head coach Travis Peterson: