Girls Basketball: Warriors sink free throws in OT win over Bemidji
Brainerd hosts Bemidji Feb. 13
BRAINERD — Brainerd head coach Troy Nelson watched as his team knocked down 6-of-7 free throws in overtime to grab a 51-48 Section 8-4A win over the Bemidji Lumberjacks Monday, Feb. 13.
The performance comes off the heels of the Warriors missing five of their last six free throws in a 42-41 section loss to Moorhead Friday, Feb. 10.
“It was great to watch us bounce back and shake the demons out to knock down those free throws,” Nelson said. “I was super proud of all the girls and all the energy and effort they brought.”
Brainerd avenged its loss to Bemidji on Jan. 20 when the Lumberjacks got the better of them 44-31.
Ana Bjorklund scored to tie the game at 41-41 with under a minute to play. After turnovers by both teams, Bemidji missed two shots at the end of the regulation to force overtime.
Bjorklund scored the first basket of overtime before Bemidji went on a 4-0 run to take a 45-43 lead.
Kate Stadum converted a 3-point play to give the Warriors a one-point lead. Mya Tautges and Karley Dunham knocked down free throws to give the Warriors a 51-45 advantage before a Lumberjacks 3 as the clock ran out.
“I told them at the end of the game that there were many times in this game that we could’ve folded,” Nelson said. “And we just showed resilience and kept working and kept fighting while playing good defense. We were in a tight one last Friday and it didn’t go our way and it was nice that this one went our way in the end.”
It was a tight game throughout with the Warriors' largest lead of six coming in overtime. Neither team led by more than five in regulation.
The Warriors started the second half on a 12-5 run capped by a Stadum layup.
Bemidji answered with a 9-0 run to take a 39-35 lead with four minutes left. Bjorklund scored her first basket of the game to make it 39-37 followed by a Dunham jump hook to tie with 1:30 left.
Dunham and Tautges, two sophomores, each finished with 10 points to lead the Warriors.
“In my opinion, they are not young anymore,” Nelson said. “They have played a full varsity season before and we are not a young team anymore. We have a full year under our belt and it’s nice to watch them gain confidence, learn how to finish games and compete.”
Bjorklund scored six with all her points coming in the last two minutes of regulation and overtime.
In the first half, Tautges hit back-to-back shots to give the Warriors a 19-15 lead. Bemidji’s Clara Bieber hit a 3-pointer at the buzzer of the first half to tie the game at 23.
“First half we turned it over 16 times, I think, and were not taking care of the ball,” Nelson said. “Our big thing was to take care of the basketball and take good shots.”
Beth Bolte finished with 12 points to lead the Lumberjacks followed by Bieber who scored 11 off the bench.
The Warriors are back in action Tuesday, Feb. 14, when they host Fergus Falls. Brainerd beat the Otters 43-38 on Dec. 20.
“We’ve got to defend, rebound and take care of the basketball,” Nelson said. “If we do those three things, we will be in the game with a chance to win.”
Bemidji 23 18 7 — 48
Brainerd 23 18 10 — 51
Brynn Peterson 5, Clara Bieber 11, Katelyn Milbrandt 9, Elizabeth Bolte 12, Gracee Bieber 4, Mya Vincent 7. FG 18-60 (30%), FT 6-9 (66.7%). 3-point 6-26 (23.1%).
Kate Stadum 8, Mya Tautges 10, Ana Bjorklund 6, Brook Sandberg 6, Karley Dunham 10, Allison Thomes 4, AJ Johnson 7. FG 20-49 (40.8%), FT 8-12 (66.7%). 3-point 3-13 (23.1%).
Warriors 51, Bemidji 48 (OT)
Key: Warriors hit free throws in overtime to seal section win against Bemidji
Overall: Brd 8-14, Bem 9-12.
Next: Brainerd hosts Fergus Falls 7:15 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 14.
CONRAD ENGSTROM may be reached at 218-855-5861 or email@example.com. Follow on Twitter at www.twitter.com/the_rad34.