Seventeen percent shooting is hard to overcome.
The Brainerd Warriors gave it a go Friday only to fall short to the visiting Bemidji Lumberjacks, who snuck out of Brainerd High School with a 54-42 victory.
The Warriors (2-10) stormed out of the halftime break to score eight straight points and claim a 31-26 advantage. Brainerd then went cold and its lead went south as Bemidji roared to a 19-5 run for a 45-36 lead. Bemidji’s Cheyenne Woods scored 13 of her 16 points in the second half and Jess Yost, who also scored 16 points, scored 10 of those in the second frame.
After two Gretchen Kletscher free throws, the Lumberjacks went on another 8-2 run to close out the Section 8-3A contest.
“We came out of the locker room and played well, but then just hit a stretch where we didn’t make a basket,” said Warriors head coach Brian McAllister. “That’s been our problem. When I look at our game tonight, I see maybe two or three bad shots, but other than that the girls were working our offense and getting shots. We just have to make a few of them. It was that five- or six-minute stretch in the second that we let them get the lead and we tightened up a little bit.”
Kletscher, who finished with a team-high 15 points, scored nine of those in the second half, but Brainerd was held to 19 second-half points and shot just 26 percent (8-of-30) from the field.
Kayla Kramer finished with 13 points for the Warriors, who battled through 10 lead changes and four ties in the first half, but fell behind 26-23 at the half. Out of the break, Kletcher, Maria West and Taylor Johnshoy each collected baskets followed by a Kletcher put-back for Brainerd’s 31-26 lead. It was the largest lead of the game to that point.
“It’s just a tough game to lose,” McAllister said. “I told the girls this was a big game because it’s a section game. We have to get some of those section games so we can move up so we’re not going on the road to Buffalo or St. Michael right away. It’s a tough one to lose, but they played hard and didn’t quit.”
The Warriors shot just 17 percent (17-63) from the field, and while they hit on 71 percent of their free throws, they went to the line only seven times compared to Bemidji’s 27 free throws attempts.
“We maybe have to get the ball to our posts a little more, just to give them some more touches,” McAllister said. “Not necessarily to always shoot it, but to get the defense to sink so when we kick the ball back out, then that defender is not right in our shooters face.”
Bemidji 26 28 — 54
Brainerd 23 19 — 42
Jessa Lusby 4, Jenna Sagedahl1, Cori Treat 3, Jess Yost 16, Cheyenne Woods 16, Dani Gronhovd 8, Caitlin Hadrava 6. FG 17-55 (31 percent), FT 15-27 (56 percent), 3-point basket: 3-15 (20 percent).
Maria West 6, Taylor Johnshoy 4, Kayla Kraemer 13, Gretchen Kletscher 15, McKenzie Veith 2, Theodora Ramberg 2. FG 17-63 (17 percent), FT 5-7 (71 percent), 3-point basket: 1-10 (10 percent).
JEREMY MILLSOP may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 855-5856.