Surrendering just 18 second-half points while forcing 25 turnovers total in the game, Bemidji eventually found its shooting touch to pull away from St. Cloud Tech for a 52-41 win in girls basketball Tuesday evening at the Bemidji High School Fieldhouse.
A 7-0 run from Tech after the Lumberjacks posted the first bucket of the game staked the Tigers to an early 7-3 lead, as the home team found itself playing catch-up for much of the first half. Emily Wade–one of Bemidji’s four players being honored on Senior Night–kept the Lumberjacks around with two converted and-one buckets through contact in the first half.
Though they struggled with both shooting touch and taking care of the basketball in the first half, the Lumberjacks kept up strong resistance defensively to stay down by only a handful. Beth Bolte was especially active on defense, sealing off the post and battling for loose balls to help swing the possession arrow.
Two transition buckets gave Bemidji a boost late in the half, with Jody Pemberton getting a runout layup and Jackie Johnson answering a late Tech bucket with a runner of her own at the other end right before the halftime buzzer.
The 23-20 halftime deficit facing Bemidji grew on an early St. Cloud Tech field goal in the second half, but the Lumberjacks replied with a 9-0 run that featured the first two three-pointers of the game for the home team from Johnson and Bolte in succession.
Wade continued to convert momentum-building shots inside that drew fouls with them, finishing yet another basket plus a foul to help extend the lead.
While Bemidji cleaned up its turnover problems from the first half, giveaways by the Tigers continued to supply the Lumberjacks with chances offensively. Johnson knocked down yet another triple to extend the lead for the hosts to double figures.
Tech gave itself a slim chance by trimming the deficit to eight with under two minutes left, but Wade’s fourth and-one of the night on a twisting circus shot finished off the victory for the Lumberjacks.
Wade and Johnson shared top scoring honors with 17 points apiece, while Bolte chipped in with seven.
The victory handed Bemidji back-to-back wins for the first time this season while improving the Lumberjacks to 4-3. Bemidji will next travel to St. Cloud Apollo on Friday evening at 7:15pm. The game can be heard on KBUN+ (FM 100.1) and KBUN2 at kbunsportsradio.com beginning at 7pm.