Bemidji boys basketball made just one field goal in the opening nine minutes of play and could never recover from its slow offensive start in a 65-50 defeat to Moorhead on Monday in the Jacks’ final home game of the regular season.
Though it was the Lumberjacks who had the more prolonged scoring problems, both teams struggled to put points on the board in the opening minutes. Moorhead led just 3-1 when Braden Luksik connected on an elbow jumper to give Bemidji its first field goal after five and a half minutes had elapsed.
The Spuds quickly responded with a 10-0 run that lasted through the midway point of the first half as Bemidji continued to toil offensively. Isaac Severts halted the run by getting a shot to fall at close range after the Lumberjacks had missed several looks around the basket early on.
Moorhead pushed the lead to 25-10 with about five minutes remaining in the half, but the Jacks found some life on a post-timeout play that set up Jaxon Boschee for a three-pointer.
The struggles on offense clouded what had been an otherwise stout half by Bemidji’s defense, highlighted by a flying block from Severts that helped spring a break in transition.
Despite trailing the entire half, the Lumberjacks pulled within six at halftime on a corner triple by Dawson Lish that ended a quick scoring burst.
Bemidji continued to stay in touching distance with another Boschee three that left them down 33-28 early in the second.
Missed layups and close-range looks plagued the Jacks all evening, but Matt Matheney was able to clean up a missed three with a putback off the glass.
Severts twice drew Bemidji within four–first on a pull-up three and then on a swift drive to the basket.
The Spuds rebuilt the lead to double digits on a combination of sharpshooting against Bemidji’s zone and alley oops to the constant post threat of Adam Jenkins.
Matheney looked to spark another run for Bemidji by dropping in a triple that cut the lead to nine.
Severts followed a few possessions later by driving and jamming on another fierce attack off the bounce.
Bemidji was controversially denied a steal and layup for Quinten Yeung when basket interference was called against the Lumberjacks, despite indications that it was a Moorhead player that had interfered with the net. The called denied the Jacks a chance to cut the lead to seven, and they failed to score the rest of the way in the final three minutes.
Severts posted 17 points in the loss and Boschee added 10.
Bemidji drops to 13-12 with a fourth straight defeat and will finish the regular season at Hibbing on Thursday evening.
Postgame interview with Bemidji head coach Steve Thompson: