Dan Clusiau’s inbound pass to midcourt set up Isaac Severts to convert the winning layup with just over a second remaining and give Bemidji boys basketball a dramatic 58-57 victory against West Fargo on Thursday night at a rocking Bemidji High School Fieldhouse.
The winning play required speed and precision with Clusiau inbounding on the baseline out of a timeout with a little over four seconds left and the entire length of the floor to cover. But the future St. Cloud State baseball player took a page from his skills on the diamond with a fastball to find Severts, who twirled and raced down the lane for a driving lay-in that gave the Jacks the lead. One final inbound and heave for the Packers missed off the mark, allowing Bemidji’s celebrations to commence on its home court.
Severts had provided fireworks earlier in the night with a pair of thunderous dunks during a first half where Bemidji toiled without the lead for the entirety of the first 18 minutes.
Ethan Biehn continued his excellent recent scoring by knocking in a turnaround jumper that briefly tied the score at 15 in the first half.
The Lumberjacks trailed just 25-22 at the break in a defensive struggle marked with plays like Quinten Yeung’s strong block in the low post.
West Fargo remained in the driver’s seat on the scoreboard in the second half, but Bemidji continued to get sparks of offense from beyond the three-point line. Matthew Matheney provided an important lift off the bench by knocking down a pair of triples to keep the Lumberjacks in striking distance.
With just under two minutes remaining in the second half, the Jacks found themselves down 55-46 but in possession. Biehn rekindled hope by burying a catch-and-shoot three to slim the lead to six.
The comeback was fueled further by a pair of five-second inbound violations called against West Fargo, with a three from Jaxon Boschee sandwiched between that suddenly cut the lead to three. Biehn drew Bemidji even closer with a shooter’s roll on a midrange jumper.
A pair of free throws from Biehn gave Bemidji its first lead of the night with less than 30 seconds to play, but the Packers answered back with a coast-to-coast layup off a miss at the line by Clusiau. The 4.4 seconds left on the clock after the bucket were just enough for the senior guard and his fellow senior Severts to connect for the winning sequence.
The Lumberjacks closed the game on a 12-2 run in the final 1:45 to seal the victory. Severts and Biehn each tallied 16 points for Bemidji, which improved to 11-6 with its fifth consecutive win.
The Lumberjacks will visit Hermantown tonight for a 7:15pm game. Pregame is scheduled for 6:55 on KBUN+ 100.1 and Lumberjacks2 at kbunsportsradio.com.
Postgame interview with Bemidji head coach Steve Thompson: