The Bemidji High boys basketball team makes its season debut tonight, hosting East Grand Forks at 7:30 at the Field House.
The preliminaries begin at 5:45 with the freshman game in the Auxiliary gym and the B Team contest in the main gymnasium.
Bemidji shoots for another winning season this winter after going 16-10 in 2009.
That was the first year above the .500 mark since an identical finish in 2005.
Last year Bemidji put a blue collar team on the court that won through hard work and hustle much of the season.
Jeff Brown begins his eighth season at the helm with a guarded air of confidence.
"We're going to have to play end to end this year to win, play fast break basketball, guard full court and hope for numerous buckets in transition."
To do this, however, will depend on controlling the defensive boards.
And that could cause problems.
Much will depend on the play of senior Grant Richardson, the 6-5 football tackle who played on the JV last winter.
That team ended 15-9 under Steve Thompson.
Only three lettermen are back from 2009, seniors Czar Woods (9.9) and Dan Frost (1.9) and junior scoring leader Ryan Rude (13.4).
Rude was the team's Co-MVP and Woods the defensive MVP lat winter.
Three seniors move up from the JV to challenge for varsity roles, 6-2 forward Josh Kane and 6-1 guard Derres Martell, each in their sixth year in the program, and 6-11 Frank Mays, who took up the sport last winter for the first time and showed promise in limited playing time in 2009. His size could prove a major help if he develops.
Sophomore Carey Woods was the B Team's scoring leader last winter and is likely to be again at the varsity level this year
Other regulars from the B Team are Mitch Brown, Zach DeClusin and Cody Rutledge, Brown and Rutledge only sophs.
Juniors from that team moving up include Harley Kroening, and Ben Hengel.
Starters tonight will be Richardson at center flanked by Rude and Frost on the baseline with the Woods brothers outside with Kroening, Kane, Rutledge and Brown the top reserves.
The Jacks drop to Section 8-3A this year for the first time where their major foes will include Little Falls, Apollo, Sauk Rapids and Rocori along with Thief River and Detroit Lakes.
A complete team preview appeared in yesterday's Winter Sports tab.
Dec. 4 East Grand Forks 5:45-7:15
Dec. 12 Park 3:00
Dec. 19 at Red River 4:30
Dec. 22 at Grand Rapids 7:30
Dec.29 vs. DeLaSalle (at GR) 7:00
Dec.30 at Brainerd 7:30
Jan. 5 at Crookston 7:30
Jan. 9 at Moorhead 2:30
Jan. 12 Thief River Falls 5:45-7:15
Jan. 19 Little Falls 5:45-7:15
Jan. 21 Detroit Lakes 5:45-7:15
Jan. 23 at Sauk Rapids 6:00
Jan. 26 Deer River 5:45-7:15
Jan. 28 Cloquet 5:45-7:15
Feb. 4 Moorhead 5:45-7:15
Feb. 6 at Sartell 2:00
Feb. 11 at Duluth East 7:15
Feb. 13 Alexandria 1:00-3:00
Feb. 16 at Detroit Lakes 7:30
Feb. 20 Rocori 1:00-3:00
Feb. 23 G. F. Central 5:45-7:15
Feb. 27 Gr. Rapids (BSU) 1:00-3:00
Mar. 2 at Thief River Falls 7:30
Mar. 5 at Duluth Central 7:30
Mar. 8 Section 8-3A, high seed TBA
Mar. 13 Section 8-3A, SCSU TBA
Mar. 18 Section 8-3A final, SCSU TBA
Mar. 24 State meet TBA
Mar. 25 State meet TBA
Mar. 26 State meet TBA
Mar. 27 State meet TBA