Bemidji boys basketball dropped a single-possession game for the fourth time this season in a narrow 59-56 defeat at St. Cloud Apollo on Monday evening.
The entirety of the game was played in an 11-point window between the teams, as the Lumberjacks never led by more than six points while the Eagles’ largest advantage was five.
The Lumberjacks’ first-half scoring was provided an early lift by Isaiah Biehn, who dropped in two early threes to help the Lumberjacks keep pace.
Despite the early scoring exploits of 6-8 forward Thomas Diew, Apollo lost his post presence to the bench on a technical following a dunk that gave him a second personal foul midway through the first half. Bemidji took advantage of his temporary absence to surge to an 10-0 run and 22-16 lead, with Gavin Luksik getting on the board several times in the post.
As the Eagles started to answer back, James Williams was able to hit on a floater in the lane to give Bemidji some more offensive life.
Apollo’s surge amounted to a 14-3 run, as the return of Diew and a host of Bemidji turnovers gave the hosts the lead heading toward halftime. Isaac Severts was able to convert on a late basket plus foul to ensure Bemidji trailed just 30-28 at the break.
Biehn again provided a spark during the second half at both ends of the floor, hitting another triple on offense while later drawing multiple charges on defense.
Diew had showcased both his height and athleticism by throwing down three dunks in the first half, but Severts displayed his own ability to attack the rim with a high-flying slam in transition as Bemidji surged back in front.
The Lumberjacks’ last lead was secured with just over five minutes left in regulation, courtesy of another basket down low from Luksik to give them a 51-49 edge.
A charge call on Diew fouled out the Apollo big man with three minutes remaining, giving the Lumberjacks a crucial opening after his game-high 27 points had helped the Eagles recapture the lead. But Bemidji would score just twice more in the final five minutes of the game, stymied without a point for three minutes before Severts drained a long-range shot to close the gap to 55-54.
The next three offensive possessions would all end in turnovers for the Lumberjacks, who missed on chances to take the lead or tie and had to settle for a consolation lay-in from Biehn with less than a second remaining.
Bemidji drops to 4-8 and will next host Fergus Falls on Thursday evening at 7:15pm from the Bemidji High School Fieldhouse. Pregame will be at 7 on KBUN-FM 104.5 and kbunsportsradio.com.