STAPLES -- Staples-Motley Cardinals senior Shannon Webster was on fire.
Webster scored 12 of his 17 points in the first quarter to lead the Cardinals over the Bemidji Lumberjacks 69-56 Tuesday night in non-conference action.
The 5-foot-10 shooting guard was 6 of 7 from the field in the quarter and ended up shooting 8 for 12.
"I'm not afraid to shoot the ball and tonight I just let it fly," said Webster. "Coach (Lynn Peterson) just asked me before the game if I was ready or not and I was."
Webster's 12 points coincided with the Cardinals' first quarter of almost perfect play. In the first frame S-M shot 13-20 from the field and when the Cardinals missed they got their own rebound and put it back in. Their defense stifled the Lumberjacks' offense, holding them to only nine opportunities from the field.
The Cardinals rolled to a 27-11 first-quarter lead, then went dead.
"I think the first quarter we were the predators," said Cardinals head coach Lynn Peterson. "We were after them. Offensively and defensively we were attacking them and I think we got them on their heels a little bit.
"If you go back and look at quarter No. 1, Bemidji got five trips down the floor where they never shot the ball. We're talking about our defense again. Our defense and rebounding start our offense and we shot the ball well.
"The second quarter they got us on our heels. They were coming at us. We weren't ready to handle it and we turned into the prey."
After their first-quarter brilliance the Cardinals managed only 17-46 shooting (37 percent) the rest of the way. Along with their poor shooting the Cardinals' defense suffered as well.
"We adjusted to them," Lumberjacks head coach Garry Grewe. "We started switching on their cross screens underneath and they started to miss some shots but the first quarter just killed us.
"We got down early at the start. They scored 27 points so we had a 16-point bulge and they hurt us on the boards."
In the second quarter Bemidji outscored S-M 14-9 to lower the deficit to 11.
"They were getting in our hip pockets and they made us work on offense," said Webster. "It was tough to get open. Coach really didn't have too much to say at halftime. We were doing fine but we had to keep working."
In the third the Cardinals awoke from their slight daze to increase the lead back to 16. Both teams shot poorly but the Cardinals got off 20 attempts to the Lumberjacks' 11.
Bemidji's Luke Rasmus came into the game averaging 15 points and he proved it wasn't a fluke by getting eight in the final frame to end with 20 but it wasn't enough.
Webster was still on fire, getting five more points in the final frame to help the Cardinals to the 69-56 final.
Senior center Josh Sander finished with 16 for Bemidji. Cardinals center Dustin Hjelmeland finished with 16 and senior Wade Christensen added 14.
The Cardinals have won 12 in a row and play Wadena-Deer Creek on Thursday to go undefeated in the Mid-State Conference for the second straight year.
Bemidji 11 14 9 22 -- 56
Staples-Motley 27 9 14 19 -- 69
Josh Sander 16, Luke Rasmus 20, Brian Wilson 0, Scott Fogelson 6, Paul Fenner 2, Jaime Miramontes 10, Kolby Bruns 2. Team totals: FG 21-53 (40 percent), FT 12-15 (80 percent). Overall -- 4-16. Next game: at Crosby-Ironton Tuesday at 7:30 p.m.
Jeff Brever 7, Wade Christensen 14, Dustin Hjelmeland 16, Tim Rutten 6, Shannon Webster 17, Adam Barnett 2, Dan Lund 7. Team totals: FG 30-66 (45 percent), FT 5-8 (63 percent). Conference -- 7-0. Overall -- 17-1. Next game: at Wadena-Deer Creek Thursday at 7:30 p.m.
3-point baskets -- SM-2 (Lund, Webster); B-2 (Rasmus 2). Total fouls -- SM 16, B 13.
Brainerd Dispatch ©2013. All Rights Reserved.