Three-point shooting lifts Alexandria girls over Bemidji 56-36
Ten made threes and solid defense earns Alexandria 20-point win over Bemidji Friday.
ALEXANDRIA – There’s a common saying in basketball that sometimes you, “live by the three or die by the three.”
The Alexandria girls basketball team lived by the three on Friday, beating rival Bemidji, 56-36.
The Cardinals (4-6, 2-1 Section 8AAA) drained 10 three-pointers, five in each half, to blow past a Lumberjack (4-4, 0-2 Section 8AAAA) team they lost to on Jan. 4 (51-49).
Freshman MaCee Linow led this Cardinal three-point barrage.
“Well, once the first shot fell, I knew that we as a team were going to look for me, finding out who’s hot and who’s not and so I knew they were going to give me the ball every time I was open,” Linow said. “I just became more and more confident every time.”
Linow led all scorers Friday with 21 points, all of which came on made three-pointers.
“MaCee is a good shooter,” Alexandria head coach Wendy Kohler said. “She’s got really, really solid offensive skills, ball handling, she can attack off the dribble and she’s pretty deadly from behind that arc. She’s worked really hard at her game and tonight she was the one who was hot.”
Linow made a game-high seven threes while freshmen Chloe Scholl and Allie Haabala, as well as senior Tessa McGrane, added one each.
The Lumberjacks made just two threes on the night.
Part of the reason the outside jumpers fell is because of the inside threat that freshmen Hadley Thul presented to the Bemidji defense.
“She’s a special player,” Kohler said. “She can get it done from the inside and the outside. She’s got tremendous footwork, she can utilize either hand and she’s just a special player.”
Thul finished with 16 points, all of which came from inside the arc.
The Cardinals led from wire-to-wire in this one and held a 27-21 lead at halftime. The Cardinals blew things open in the second half, outscoring the Lumberjacks 29-15.
Alexandria held Bemidji to its third lowest-scoring output this season with the lowest two scores being 30 and 26.
The 36 points is the fewest that an Alexandria opponent has scored all season with the next closest being 45 (vs. Sauk Rapids-Rice on Dec. 2, 2021).
Alexandria exacted revenge against Bemidji, avenging a two-point loss on the road with a 20-point victory at home.
“I think we were locked in. We made a few changes on some things that we’re executing, some of the ways we’re doing things, and I think it just fits our team better,” Kohler said about the difference between game one and game two against Bemidji.
The Cardinals roster features nine underclassmen (including four freshmen who started Friday) and five upperclassmen.
In Kohler’s eyes, having a younger roster is not a limiting factor in how successful the team can be and they really aren’t young after the season starts.
“I told them, ‘You’re not young anymore; you’re two months in,”’ Kohler said. “So you’re not freshmen anymore, sophomores aren’t sophomores anymore, juniors or seniors, we’re not young anymore. We’re ready, we’re two months in and you guys could be deadly if you believe us.”’
The Cardinals snapped a three-game losing streak that dated back to Dec. 29.
“It felt great to get the taste of a win,” Linow said. “Our team needed that taste to keep on moving forward a little bit. But now we’re back at it and we’re just gonna keep getting that feeling.”
Alexandria hits the road on Tuesday for a game at Detroit Lakes (2-7, Section 8AAA).
Linow sees this game and the following stretch as opportunities to show growth.
“We’re just going to keep getting more confident, grow off of this (Friday’s win), coming to practice more with a fixed mindset, getting stronger at practice and not settling,” she said.
Kohler says potential growth can be shown in confidence moving forward.
“Confidence in themselves, in their skills, confidence in their teammates, just believing in each other that we’ll stick the course and stick with the process,” she said. “Trust the process along the journey and great things are going to happen.”
Alexandria 56, Bemidji 36
ALEXANDRIA SCORING: MaCee Linow, 21 points; Hadley Thul, 16 points; Allie Haabala, 9 points; Tessa McGrane, 5 points; Chloe Scholl, 3 points; Lauren Beyer, 2 points
BEMIDJI SCORING: Gracee Bieber, 10 points; Jackie Johnson, 9 points; Jody Pemberton, 6 points; Marlee Bieber, 4 points; Beth Bolte, 3 points; Brynn Peterson, 2 points; Kate Hildebrand, 2 points