#3 Bemidji’s best offensive showing of the season helped the Lumberjacks to a 78-64 triumph over #6 Sauk Rapids-Rice in a Section 8AAA girls basketball quarterfinal Thursday evening at the Bemidji High School Fieldhouse.
The Bemidji offensive explosion came despite a scoring drought that lasted over three minutes to open the game, allowing Sauk Rapids to open up a 6-0 lead. Bemidji quickly answered with a 7-0 burst before the Storm retook the lead at 10-7.
From that point, Bemidji embarked on a 13-0 run that was capped by a Jackie Johnson three from straight on.
Lexi Tatro followed not long after with a three from the corner, one of two triples hit by the junior in the first half.
Putting in a strong game at both ends of the floor, a steal from Jody Pemberton led to a layup for the junior after Johnson fed her on a 2-on-1 in transition.
Two inside buckets through fouls–one by Johnson and one by Marlee Bieber–staked Bemidji to an even larger lead deeper into the first half.
The Lumberjacks picked up a little extra padding to their halftime lead at the first half buzzer, courtesy of a three-point prayer off the glass from Pemberton that capped a 44-25 first half edge.
Sophomore forward Beth Bolte twice found the mark from three-point range, hitting a wing triple during the second half.
Sauk Rapids-Rice cut a 21-point deficit to 10 during the latter stages of the second half, but Emily Wade helped keep Bemidji’s lead in double figures with strong drives inside.
Wade’s game-high 17 points paced Bemidji, with Johnson and Pemberton each scoring 16 and Bolte reaching double-digits with 12.
Bemidji (9-10) advances to the Section 8AAA semifinals for the fifth straight season, setting up a trip to face #2 Detroit Lakes on Tuesday evening.
Postgame interview with Bemidji head coach Steve Schreiber: