Both Bemidji High basketball teams take to the road this weekend, heading south to the St. Cloud area for games.
The boys play twice, taking on unbeaten St. Cloud Tech tonight at St. Cloud State's Halenbeck Hall before making the half hour trip southwest to Cold Spring tomorrow to face Rocori in the nightcap of a boys-girls afternoon twin bill.
The girls face the Spartans in the 1 p.m. opener in their only game.
The two games will present contrasting problems for the boys.
Tech is rated third in the state 4A poll behind Hopkins and Henry Sibley and is 20-0 and atop the Central Lakes Conference standings.
It will be the strongest team Bemidji has faced this year with both size, speed and shooting skills.
The Tigers have been pressed only twice in a 54-52 win over Tartan in early December and an 85-84 decision at Willmar two weeks ago.
That pair met again last week with Tech prevailing 92-65.
But the Jacks well remember a midseason 74-73 loss at Apollo, the state's No. 3 Class 3A team. Bemidji took that game to the final buzzer before losing.
That was their only loss in an eight-game stretch in which they topped 70 points seven times and went over 90 twice.
After a brief two-game skid, they have taken their last three starts to reach 12-7. The last was a 75-55 win over Detroit Lakes Tuesday.
Rocori is a different story .
Bob Brink's Spartans are 7-13 overall and 4-8 in the CLC in seventh place.
But any Bob Brink team is dangerous despite its record. He trails only Chisholm's Bob McDonald in career victories among active coaches.
They lost to Tech by 25 and Apollo by 11 and bowed twice to Brainerd and once to Sauk Rapids, teams Bemidji defeated this winter. But they have a win over Little Falls, a team that beat Bemidji 78-58 early in the year.
Bemidji hopes to unleash its run and gun attack depending on some strong rebounding to set the transition game in motion.
Balance has been the team's strong suit this winter with all five starters capable of double figure performances on any night with two or three normally finding that range.
Against DL, Ryan Rude and Ryan Telander combined for 40, 22 by Rude, his best night of the season and 15th game in double figures.
Telander followed with 18, two short of his season high and 10th double figure night.
Simon Anderson will open in the post between them with Ray Walker and Czar Woods patrolling the 19 foot arc. Woods has reached double figures ten games and Walker nine.
Off the bench will come Joe Kingery ,Dan Frost and Tony Baumgartner for inside help and Sam Weaver and Nate McGriff around the perimeter.
Bemidji fell to Tech 71-50 and Rocori 53-42 last year.
The B Team takes an 11-8 mark to its opener while the freshmen are 9-7 Both won Tuesday night after bowing Alexandria last Saturday.
Girls start anew
The girls will be out to start a new winning string after their nine game skein was snapped at East Grand Forks Thursday 85-70.
That followed an earlier eight game string after a short two-gamer to open the year.
Lack of its usual strong defense and an non-aggressive attack against the Wave's 1-3-1 zone proved the difference as EGF reached 22-1.
Its only loss came 65-61 to Ada. Both of those teams are second rated in the state 2A and A polls.
Coach Rick Kehoe looked at the loss as a blessing in disguise, bringing home a number of minor mistakes the team has been making and been able to get away with in a string of 20-30 pint wins over weaker opposition.
"It will bring home some of the things the coaches have been telling the girls recently and enable us to refocus down the stretch."
After Saturday's game, the girls face only two more games, home contests with Detroit Lakes Tuesday and Grand Rapids Thursday to end their regular season.
They take a 19-3 mark to Rocori.
Bemidji beat the Spartans 65-36 here last winter.
Their B Team tries to snap a three game skid that has dropped the team to 14-8. It failed to top 40 points in any of the three.
The freshman, on the other hand carry a 16-0 mark to its contest, the closest call a 17 point victory at Duluth East.