A tight second half turned Hermantown’s way over the last several minutes of regulation and the Hawks stayed on the mark at the free throw line to turn away Bemidji girls basketball 72-64 on Tuesday at Hermantown High School.
Emily Wade and Katie Alto each had 16 points to lead Bemidji in scoring, while Lindsey Hildenbrand also made double figures with 11.
The Lumberjacks led by as many as nine in the first half, with guard scoring in good supply early on. While Emily Wade found success driving inside in the early go, Katie Alto and Jackie Johnson both hit threes to help the Jacks go up 20-11.
The Hawks responded with a 13-3 run to go in front, but Bemidji used some more long-distance shooting from both Taylor Wade and Lindsey Hildenbrand to go up 34-33 into halftime.
The second half started close, as the Lumberjacks got a transition bucket from Emily Wade and a layup from Hildenbrand to build a small five-point lead.
Once again, Hermantown had answers on offense, led by a game-high 17 points from both Brita Birkeland and Elly Schmitz. Bryton Kukowski also added 16, as the Hawks swung back in front by tight margins.
Three point shooting kept the Lumberjacks close for a time. Beth Bolte connected from downtown, and a block from Wade set up Alto for a three at the other end.
The Hawks would build a lead from there, maintaining it on the strength of excellent free throw shooting down the stretch. The win improved Hermantown to 21-2 this season.
Bemidji drops to 15-8 with the defeat and will go back to the Iron Range for its final road game of the regular season on Friday at Cloquet. Gametime is 7:15pm with pregame at 7 on KBUN AM1450/fm94.9 and KBUN2 online.
Postgame interview with Bemidji head coach Steve Schreiber: