An early scoring barrage from top seed Buffalo was too much for #5 Bemidji to overcome in an 86-58 defeat in a Section 8AAAA semifinal on Wednesday in front of a raucous crowd at Buffalo High School.
The semifinal came four days later than expected after a snowstorm forced the postponement of both the Buffalo-Bemidji and Moorhead-Brainerd semifinal games that were scheduled for Saturday.
After tying the score at two on an opening-possession bucket by Quinten Yeung, the Lumberjacks immediately ran into trouble when the host Bison ripped off a 14-0 run in a span of just three minutes. With momentum and the standing-room only crowd firmly against them, the Jacks tried to gain a foothold when Jaxon Boschee came off the bench to knock down their first three of the night.
Bemidji later turned a stop into a spectacular slam with a perimeter block by Yeung that he scooped up and flushed with two hands at the other end of the floor.
Ethan Biehn provided the offensive spark in the first half for the Lumberjacks with 11 points, and Braden Luksik added an old-fashioned three-point play that cut Buffalo’s lead to 30-23 with about six minutes to play in the first half. But the Bison countered with a fast-flowing, highly efficient offensive attack that yielded nine first-half threes, and turned Bemidji over 11 times before the half to open up a dominant 48-29 lead.
The Jacks again turned to Yeung in the post early in the second half and he came through with another lay-in to continue his solid night of scoring.
Isaac Severts had posted just two first-half points, but the senior burst to life on offense in the second half with a quick scoring spree–including a triple–that cut the lead to 13.
After another bucket from Severts briefly brought the deficit to 11, Yeung again was able to convert on the interior to help briefly keep pace with Buffalo’s scoring.
Severts tallied 15 of his team-high 17 points in the second half and added another basket later on a spinning floater.
Biehn finished with 15 points and Yeung reached double figures with 10, but Bemidji could never find a way to slow down Buffalo’s offensive onslaught that yielded 14 three-point field goals.
Bemidji’s season concludes with a record of 15-13. The Lumberjacks graduate seven senior players: Ben Corradi, Matthew Matheney, Dawson Lish, Quinten Yeung, Dan Clusiau, Isaac Severts, and Ethan Biehn.
Postgame interview with Bemidji head coach Steve Thompson: