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Selina Gilbertson and the Bemidji girls basketball team will find their opponent for Wednesday's state opener when the brackets are determined today. Pioneer Photo/Eric Stromgren

Bemidji HS girls basketball team to find state opponent Saturday

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The Bemidji High School girls basketball team took an earned rest day on Friday following Thursday night's emotional Section 7-3A championship win over Hibbing.

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While the team took it easy in a light shoot-around practice Friday afternoon, head coach Rick Kehoe was busy preparing an itinerary for the week at state and looking ahead to Saturday's seeding process.

The eight-team field for the state tournament has been set after the last of the section finals Friday night.

In the 2010 tournament with Bemidji (25-1) is Willmar (23-4), Hill-Murray (23-5), Benilde-St. Margaret's (27-2), New Prague (20-9), Annadale (20-7), DeLaSalle (29-0) and Sartell-St. Stephen (23-5).

Play begins Wednesday at Williams Arena on the University of Minnesota campus and Bemidji's game time has yet to be determined. The Jacks will either play at 10 a.m., noon, 2 p.m. or 4 p.m.

Saturday morning, Kehoe and the rest of the tournament qualifying coaches will rank the other teams one through seven in a secret ballot system conducted on the Internet.

At 11 a.m. after all the coaches have ranked the teams, there is a conference call where the top four seeds are announced. The bottom four ranked teams are then drawn randomly to create the quarterfinal pairings.

Bemidji is currently on a 20-game winning streak and were ranked No. 3 in the final Minnesota Basketball News Class 3A poll at the end of February. The Lumberjacks were ranked behind No. 1 DeLaSalle and No. 2 Benilde-St. Margaret's in the only poll recognized by the Associated Press.

Hill-Murray was No. 4, Ne Prague was No. 5 and Willmar was No. 10.

Annandale, which upset Rogers in the Section 5 title game, was not ranked. Also unranked was Sartell, which upset Alexandria in the Section 8 title game Friday.

In Class 3A rankings provided by Minnesota-Scores.net Friday, Bemidji is ranked No. 1 ahead of No. 2 DeLaSalle, No. 3 Benilde-St. Margaret's and No. 4 Hill-Murray.

Kehoe believes the Jacks are in line for a No. 2 or a No. 3 seed.

The Jacks plan to practice as normal after school Monday afternoon.

The student body will host a pep fest at 9:40 Tuesday morning in the high school gym and the team will begin its trip to Minneapolis after it ends. The team will take an afternoon break for a practice at St. Michael-Albertville High School.

After checking into the team hotel, the Jacks will attend a banquet for the participating state teams before turning in for the evening.

The No. 1 seed in the tournament draws the 10 a.m. game, No. 4 draws the noon game, No. 2 draws the 2 p.m. game and No. 3 draws the 4 p.m. game on Wednesday.

The winners meet in the semifinal games Thursday at Target Center in Minneapolis at noon and 2 p.m.

The Class 3A state championship game is at Target Center at 6 p.m. Saturday.

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Pioneer staff reports
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