Bemidji High School boys basketball: Jacks host Lakers in opener
The Bemidji Lumberjacks begin their second boys basketball season tonight, hosting Detroit Lakes at 7 in the opening round of the Section 8-3A tournament.
Bemidji drew the No. 3 seed as expected while the Lakers are seeded sixth.
The lower bracket will be completed tonight when No. 7 Sauk Rapids plays at No. 2 Little Falls.
In the upper bracket, top-seeded Rocori hosts No. 8 Fergus Falls, while fourth- seeded St. Cloud Apollo entertains No. 5 Sartell.
Bemidji went 5-1 against section opponents this winter, losing only at Sartell 64-62. One of the Lumberjack wins came over Rocori late in the year.
The Jacks carry a 16-9 record into play, equaling the 16 wins recorded last year.
Bemidji was edged 76-74 in the first round of last year's 8-4A tournament by Elk River.
But it dropped to 8-3A this year and seems capable of competing with the top teams for a state berth, especially after upsetting Rocori.
The semifinals will be played at St .Cloud State Saturday at 10 and 11:30 a.m., and the final will be played at the same site March 18 at 5 p.m.
The Jacks, who have made 28 state tournament trips, have gone only three tines since the division into multi-class basketball in 1972, the last in 1985 when they bowed to Bloomington Jefferson and Willmar.
Bemidji has had few problems with Detroit Lakes this year, winning the first meeting 66-52 at home and 72-63 at DL.
Carey Woods led a balanced attack in the opener with 18 points, while Ryan Rude had 10.
In the rematch, Rude scored 22, Czar Woods 18 and Carey Woods 15.
Dan Frost and Grant Richardson will round out the starting five for Bemidji.
Josh Kane, Harley Kroening, Mitch Brown and Cody Rutledge will be the first off the bench, with Zach Declusin and Ben Hengel rounding out the top 11.
DL has been bolstered by the return of sophomore Joe Mollberg, who has been sidelined most of the year and did not play in either Bemidji game.
Mollberg scored 14 points in the Lakers' final win over Thief River Falls.
Little Falls rules a solid favorite over Sauk Rapids, a team it beat 70-54 and 76-65 this winter.
In the upper bracket, Rocori won over Fergus 67-48 and 57-43 in their two meetings while Apollo beat Sartell 76-64 and 80-65 in regular-season games while bowing 66-64 at the St. Cloud holiday tournament.
Apollo and Rocori divided their two games. Sartell fell twice to the Spartans.