Jacks basketball resumes play at Park Rapids
The Bemidji High boys basketball team becomes the first unit to start the new year tonight when it heads south to Park Rapids for its annual battle with the Panthers.
Overall Bemidji is 2-6, however, and Park Rapids 4-2.
The Panthers lost to Bagley 70-54 and Crosby 64-60 but have won four of their last five wits Staples among their victims.
Another was Wadena in the final of their own holiday tournament, less than a week after Wadena upset Detroit Lakes.
Bemidji took last year's meeting here 74-66 as Nate Daniels (32) and Brad Hoff (21) combined for 53 points.
Unfortunately, that pair has graduated. No one else reached double figures.
Joe Morgan has taken over the reins at Park Rapids this year.
He is a 1997 Panther graduate who averaged 12.9 points per game his senior year. He has served as assistant coach the past five seasons.
He returns three starters from 2006 and two others who played significant amounts of time.
The starters are seniors Bryce Fazekas and Doug Haas and junior Grant Dierkhising.
Seniors Seth Overly and Dusty Craig were key reserves last winter.
Fazekas, the 6-9 pivot, will pose major problems for the Jacks defense tonight. He was the Panthers' MVP and an all conference pick last winter, averaging 15.9 points and 10.4 rebounds.
He set school records with a 65.3 percent shooting average, 156 defensive rebounds, 229 total rebounds and 113 blocks including 10 in one game.
Dierkhising, a 6-0 guard, was second on the team with a 14.5 average. Fellow guard Haas (5-10) paced the team with 92 assists and averaged 6.8 points per game.Overly (5-11) and Craig (5-8) provide depth at guard.
Senior Brady Pederson and soph Kevin Vaadeland at 6-3 represent the only other size.
Bemidji is still seeking to gain some consistency, playing well in several games including its two wins, and less than well in several others.
Only Doug Bender (95 points) and Andrew Hengel (93) have reached double figures frequently, each getting to that level five times.
Drew Baker is next with two double figure finishes in his last three games. No one else has reached that level more than once.
David Sand, Chris Marty and Jeff Schaper will provide the inside attack with Bender, Hengel and the Baker twins on the wings and Alex Muller, Mike Erpelding and Avery Bretschneider outside.
Coach Jeff Brown will substitute frequently.
The B Team brings a 2-6 mark to its game. The freshmen are 1-3.