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Bemidji High School boys basketball squad honored

The Bemidji Lumberjacks boys basketball team was honored Sunday night at its annual Awards Night ceremony at the Commons.

Special guests were the 12 varsity letter winners who carried Bemidji to a 17-10 mark this winter, its best finish since going 18-6 in 1991 under Mel Johnson.

Head Coach Jeff Brown served as emcee for the program, thanking the parents, players, Boosters Club, managers, cheerleaders and fans for their continued support of the program.

Freshman Coach Carey Woods reviewed his season which started slowly at 0-6 but finished strong to close 8-13.

It was a matter of sorting out his large 19-player squad to find winning combinations, he said. Once that was done, the team played far better down the stretch.

It was a team that worked hard from start to finish and made rapid progress.

Billy Baumgartner won the Troy Nelson Award given annually in the memory of the one-time freshman coach to honor the player most representative of the spirit of Bemidji basketball both on and of f the court.

B Team review

Steve Thompson, who guided the JV with Matt Anderson, introduced the 11 of his 14 players in attendance, praising the team as a "great group of kids to work with," who made rapid progress during a learning season.

It also was a team that started slowly but came into its own in January and went on to a 17-8 finish.

The highlights were convincing late-season wins over Rocori and Grand Rapids as the team won five of its final six games.

He stressed the need for a full summer of off season workouts including time spent in thee weight room to enable the players to improve their skills for next season.

Seniors praised

Brown cited his three departing seniors for their leadership of a young team through the year and on the floor contributions to leading it to a wining season.

Each was presented a personalized sweatshirt with their name and number by the Booster Club.

The trio, Czar Woods, Dan Frost and Josh Kane, who also served as captains, then extended their thanks to their teammates for their cooperation this year.

Brown returned to review the varsity year, stating that it began as an unknown factor, having graduated seven key players in 2009 and having only three returning with varsity experience.

But it ended with the best record in his eight years at the helm and went 6-2 over Section 8-3A foes including the top two, Rocori and Little Falls.

Three of the 10 setbacks came by three points or less and Bemidji was in virtually every game it lost during the winter.

Among them were two to Grand Rapids and one each to DeLaSalle and Little Falls, all state tournament teams plus two more to section finalists Duluth East and Thief River Falls.

It was a year of streaks, he said, with Bemidji having three four-game win streaks and two three game losing skids.

He also cited the team's strong home record.

Looking ahead, he pointed to a strong group of nine lettermen coming back with further production expected from B Team graduates.

But, he cautioned, no position would be guaranteed for next winter and that players wishing to make major contributions should be prepared to work hard during the off season for improvement.

Summer basketball information was distributed with many of the players expected to play AAU ball during the off season.

He also urged weight room work stating that the most impressive factor of the top teams at the state meet was their physical size and strength.

Gifts to the five-man coaching staff which included varsity assistant Tim Mayclin, were presented by the Booster Club.

Brown and Mayclin presented the team awards.

Selected by the players were:

Most Improved Player: Josh Kane

Defensive Player of the Year: Czar Woods

Most Valuable Player: Ryan Rude

Statistical leaders were:

Top rebounder: Rude 155

Steals leader: Rude 94

Assist leader: Czar Woods 89

Free throw percentage leader: Carey Woods 79 percent

Field goal percentage leader: Kane 60 percent

Scoring leader: Rude 430

The Coaches Award was earned by Harley Kroening

Final official team stats found Carey Woods second in scoring with 426 points while Czar Woods had 283, Frost 168 and Mitch Brown 120.

Brown had the best three-point average, hitting 11 of 28 for 39.3 percent.

Carey Woods was the second best rebounder with 146 while Grant Richardson had 106.

Rude and Brown were second in assists with 57. Carey and Czar Woods followed Rude in steals with 58 and 54.

Earning their 2010 basketball letters were:

SENIORS: Czar Woods, Dan Frost and Josh Kane

JUNIORS: Ryan Rude, Grant Richardson, Harley Kroening and Ben Hengel

SOPHOMORES: Carey Woods, Mitch Brown, Cody Rutledge and Zach Declusin