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GIRLS BASKETBALL: Lumberjacks lag in 72-56 loss

BEMIDJI -- The Bemidji High School girls basketball team fell victim to a run-and-gun second half from Brainerd on Friday, resulting in a 72-56 Lumberjack loss at the BHS Gymnasium.

After trading baskets in the opening minutes, the Warriors (8-5) picked up an 18-7 lead through a 10-0 run. But Bemidji (6-9) found its footing with eight of the next nine points -- highlighted by a Mackenzie Nicklason layup off a seeing-eye dime from Sam Edlund -- for a 19-15 game.

Brainerd regained control, however, taking a 32-21 lead when Maddi Barnett connected on an and-one layup, setting up a 37-27 score by the break.

In the second half, though, things didn’t stay as tightly contested.

The Warriors piled on to its lead early in the second half, using a Regan McElfresh steal and score to finish off a 9-2 run for a 48-32 advantage. And even though Ryssa Whalen momentarily stopped the bleeding with a layup, the rout was on as Brainerd rattled off 11 straight during an ensuing 16-2 run to go up 64-36.

Bemidji put a dent in the lead in the closing eight minutes – outscoring the Warriors 20-8 during the stretch by game’s end – but Brainerd still came out with the 72-56 win behind its dominance to start the second-half.

Kennedy Mills tallied 14 points for the team high, while Macy Flatness and Whelan followed with eight and seven, respectively. In contrast, the Warriors had four players hit double-digits: McElfresh (17), Lexi Roby (13), Courtney Russell (13) and Cara Helgeson (12).

The Lumberjacks will hit the road for their next matchup in hopes of returning to the win column, traveling to Little Falls for a 7:15 p.m. game on Tuesday, Jan. 16, against the Flyers.

Brainerd 72, Bemidji 56

BRA 37 35 -- 72

BEM 27 29 -- 56

Brainerd scorers: McElfresh 17, Roby 13, Russell 13, Helgeson 12, Barnett 5, Huber 4, Hardee 3, Brzezinski 2, Grunenwald 2, Zimmerman 1.

Bemidji scorers: Mills 14, M. Flatness 8, Whelan 7, Alto 6, Cermak 6, Nicklason 6, Huberty 5, Beard 2, Hildenbrand 2.

Micah Friez

Micah Friez is a sports reporter for the Bemidji Pioneer. A native of East Grand Forks, he is currently studying Creative and Professional Writing at Bemidji State. Follow him on Twitter at @micahfriez for Lumberjack and Beaver updates.

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