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Bemidji roughs up Willmar

BEMIDJI -- Willmar struggled early and couldn't make any headway later in a non-conference battle of ranked girls basketball teams Saturday.

Bemidji, the No. 9-team in Class AAAA, jumped to a 21-4 lead and never let the Cardinals, rated No. 10 in Class AAA, back in the game, leading to 71-50 Willmar loss.

The Lumberjacks (9-1), who have won seven straight, dominated in most phases of the game in the first half. Willmar had a three-game winning streak snapped.

Kayla Hirt scored 18 points in the first 18 minutes and finished with a game-high 28. She also helped Bemidji keep the Cardinals off the glass, pulling down a total of 12 for the game.

The Lumberjacks held a 28-13 rebounding advantage at halftime and opened the second half with a 39-20 lead.

Both teams emptied their benches in the second half. Only three of Willmar's regular starters scored and starting post Jena Thompson did not play due to an illness.

Kelsey Evans led the way for Willmar with 14 points and made both of the Cardinals' three-pointers. Kayli Gimse came off the bench to supply a career-high 13 points in her first extended action on varsity. Alex Lippert added eight points.

Bemidji 71, Willmar 50

Willmar (9-3) 20 30 -- 50

Bemidji (9-1) 39 32 -- 71

WILLMAR - 21-52 FG (2-8 3-pt); 6-15 FT; 30 rebounds; 14 fouls ... Scoring: Alex Lippert 8, Kelsey Evans 14, Mariel Aamot 3, Hannah Smith 4, Leslie Christianson 2, Kayli Gimse 13, Sara Kallhoff 2, Kasey Scheffler 2, Shantel Kelly 2 ... 3-point shots: Evans 2 ... Rebound leaders: Christianson 5 ... Assist leaders: Evans 4 ... Steal leaders: Evans 2

BEMIDJI - 29-49 FG (4-8 3-pt); 9-15 FT; 32 rebounds; 16 fouls ... Scoring: Paigle Jensen 24, Megan Larson 7, Kayla Hirt 28, Meg Claypool 2, Abby Hendricks 2, Ashley Hirt 3, Erika Weimann 2, Kelsey Heisler 1, Caitlin Gangelhoff 2 ... 3-point shots: Jensen 2, Larson 2 ... Rebound leaders: K.Hirt 12, Jensen 9 ... Assist and steal leaders not available