Difficulties with turnovers and scoring for Bemidji girls basketball contributed to a 20-point halftime deficit and an eventual 63-26 loss to Sartell-St. Stephen in a season-opening Section 8AAAA game on Friday evening at the Bemidji High School Fieldhouse.
Both teams came out firing in rapid trips up and down the court in the first few minutes, but with little scoring to show for. Bemidji slipped into a 9-3 deficit with less than 10 minutes to go in the first half before Jackie Johnson connected on a three to end the team’s six-minute drought without a field goal.
The Sabres responded with their own triple, then led by eight when Jody Pemberton was able to find Beth Bolte alone inside for an easy finish.
Issues keeping the basketball persisted throughout the first half for the Lumberjacks thanks to a trapping, swarming defensive arrangement in the half-court by Sartell. A massive 19 turnovers–coupled with only three made field goals, 7/18 shooting at the free-throw line, and a stack of offensive rebounds allowed–contributed to a 20-6 run for the Sabres to end the half with a commanding 34-14 lead.
The Sabres offense found its way behind the scoring of Avery Templin, who poured in 15 of her game-high 20 points in the first half.
The second half started in much the same manner, with Bemidji still locked up on offense and Templin striking again from behind the arc.
A 14-minute stretch without a made shot from the field for Bemidji finally ended on back-to-back field goals by Kate Hildenbrand, though Sartell answered back quickly at the other end.
Bemidji again made only three field goals in the second half, with the final shot a three by Beth Bolte.
Johnson’s 10 points topped the Lumberjacks, with Bolte adding six in a game where just five players scored for the hosts.
Bemidji will next travel to Grand Rapids on Tuesday for a 7:15pm tip-off. The game will air on KBUN+ 100.1 and Lumberjacks2 at kbunsportsradio.com.
Postgame interview with Bemidji head coach Steve Schreiber: