Ethan Biehn posted a game-high 24 points and added eight steals to guide Bemidji boys basketball past St. Cloud Tech for a narrow 56-54 win on Tuesday evening in St. Cloud.
The Jacks received surprise news in pregame when it became known that Tech’s top scorer Tameron Ferguson–averaging 31.3 points per game entering the night–would be out for the contest due to an injury. While the Tigers worked to find their rhythm without their catalyst guard, Biehn came out firing with consecutive makes to open the night.
The senior guard continued his early scoring spree with a theft on defense that turned into a transition layup through a foul.
Backcourt mate Jaxon Boschee supplemented Biehn’s salvo with a catch-and-shoot triple that was the first of his two in the half, helping spark the Jacks to an 11-5 edge despite early problems with turnovers.
Foul trouble for starting forward Quinten Yeung thrust Braden Luksik into extended first-half minutes to play in the post for the Jacks, and the junior responded with a tough shot off the glass that ignited a game-changing first-half run for the Lumberjacks.
Leading 13-12 just prior to Luksik’s basket, Bemidji surged further ahead thanks to another influential sequence from Biehn. The senior pulled up for another three-pointer, then turned a steal into another layup through a foul that ballooned the lead to nine.
Boschee connected on another triple shortly thereafter, as the Lumberjacks eventually concluded the 13-0 run with a 26-12 lead. However, Tech trimmed a 15-point deficit down to a 34-26 margin heading into halftime.
Scoring kicked off in the second half much as it had been provided throughout the first for the Lumberjacks, as Biehn glided inside off the dribble for two more.
Biehn turned provider later to feed Luksik on a nice dish in transition to break the Tigers’ full-court pressure with a layup.
The Lumberjacks continued to find opportunities in transition off of steals, with Dawson Lish turning a takeaway at midcourt into a lay-in to extend the lead to 48-38 midway through the half.
That bucket would be the last for several minutes for Bemidji, which saw Tech whittle the lead down to one with a 9-0 run that suddenly had the visitors in a possession-by-possesion grinder during the final minutes. Warsame Mahat knocked down a three-pointer to tie the game at 52 with two and a half minutes to play, but Biehn answered with a flying layup at the other end to restore the lead.
A putback by Isaac Severts off a missed layup helped the Lumberjacks reopen a two-possession lead. But a pair of free throws from the Tigers and a turnover at midcourt gave the hosts an extended possession that turned into a timeout and one final sequence of looks to either tie or win the game.
Biehn’s 24 points led all players in scoring, with Severts also reaching double figures for Bemidji with 11.
The Lumberjacks have won three straight games to improve to 9-6 overall, and will next host Thief River Falls on Friday night at 7:15pm.
Postgame interview with Bemidji head coach Steve Thompson: