A sluggish start offensively dropped Bemidji girls basketball into a deficit from which it could never recover in a 61-48 defeat to Willmar on Friday evening at the Bemidji High School Fieldhouse.
The visiting Cardinals never trailed in the game, jumping out to a 7-0 edge capped by a triple from Mackenzie Jones during the early advantage.
One of the Lumberjacks’ first offensive sparks came courtesy of a three from Beth Bolte, as the forward splashed a long-range shot to cut the early difference to 10.
Scoring was at a premium for both teams in the first half, which allowed Bemidji to stay close despite the deficit. Emily Wade followed a Willmar make with a bucket of her own at the other end, as Bemidji went on to trail 24-19 at halftime.
The Cardinals slowly stretched the lead in the second half with Jones providing the primary scoring push. She finished with a game-high 26 points, including another three that increased the gap to double figures again.
Bolte (10 points) and Wade (team-high 20) were Bemidji’s chief scoring outlets on an evening of very little offensive production, with each doing their best to keep the Lumberjacks around during the second half.
The Lumberjacks have lost consecutive games to drop to 5-6 overall. They will return home to host Brainerd on Tuesday at 7:15 at the Bemidji High School Fieldhouse.
Postgame interview with Bemidji head coach Steve Schreiber: