Playing from behind for the entirety of the second half, Bemidji could only close within two in the final 30 seconds before falling 55-49 to Fergus Falls in boys basketball on Thursday at the Bemidji High School Fieldhouse.
The Lumberjacks faced a deficit from as early as the opening minutes of the game, but got off to a stout start defensively with help on the interior from Isaac Severts on an impressive early block in the low post.
Facing up against Fergus Falls’ zone defense, Bemidji found breakthroughs on the inside thanks to a floater from James Williams and beyond the arc on a Matt Arel three as it trailed by four with 10 minutes to play in the first half.
Severts showed his offensive skill during the middle portion of the first half on a finger roll inside that drew the Lumberjacks within six.
Despite seeing the deficit grow to eight, Bemidji battled back with a 10-2 run that was fueled by back-to-back threes from Isaiah Biehn late in the first half en route to trailing 31-26 at the break.
The Lumberjacks closed back within three early in the second half thanks to some slick passing to set up Gavin Luksik for a lay-in.
But Bemidji could never take the lead during the middle of the second half, as the Otters clamped down defensively while starting to build the lead back up. Sam Wilson’s late and-one and a three from Arel helped Bemidji draw back within a possession, but time was firmly against the home team.
James Williams scored inside with 28 seconds remaining to pull Bemidji within 51-49, but late free throws from the Otters preserved their advantage on the way to a second victory against the Lumberjacks this season.
Bemidji was led by 12 points from Luskik, while Severts provided 10 before fouling out.
The Lumberjacks are now 4-9 and will host St. Cloud Tech on Saturday afternoon for a 2:15pm game.