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Bemidji High School girls basketball: Record-setting squad honored at banquet

The record-setting Bemidji High girls basketball team was honored Sunday night at its annual Awards Night Banquet at Calvary Lutheran Church.

Special guests were the 15 varsity player who posted a school record 25 victories and gained a state tournament berth for the first time since 2001.

Also honored were the B and C Team players.

Rick Kehoe, completing his fourth season at the helm, served as emcee.

Freshman Coach Larry Dahl introduced his13 players who started slowly but finished strong to post a 13-5 record.

"We lacked the scoring punch of last year's un beaten team, so we stressed defense and captured our final five starts to cement the winning record.

We also raised our scoring totals from 39 to 51 points a game by the season's end.

"The girls played hard all season but will need to continue that effort through the off season to progress next year."

Each player was presented a team medal

Maggie Claussen, in her first year as JV head coach, introduced her 14 players, all but two sophomores or freshmen.

"We had an up and down season especially after Jess Yost and Kenzie Kane were elevated to full time varsity status before Christmas. But we grew stronger as the season wore along and ended 10-13."

Kehoe returned to thank his coaching staff., Zach McDermott, Claussen and Dahl, for their efforts.

He also thanked the Bemidji Bombers for their support of the basketball program and fund raising efforts that provided transportation and equipment for the program.

He had special thanks for the Pioneer sports section which "gives our girls basketball team better coverage than any team in the state."

Special praise went to his seven seniors for a great year and great careers. The seven began as freshmen in his first year heading the program.

"It was a team that got better every game and reached its peak at the section meet where it dominated its two opponents," Kehoe said.

He challenged the under graduates to begin preparing to take over those big shoes next winter and set their goals on bettering this year's finish.

He pointed out that in each of the past two years, he was told that the following year would find it impossible to match its fine season.

But the team went from 20 to 23 to 25 wins the last three seasons.

Bemidji beat seven teams that reached their section finals and seven that won 20 or more games.

He then introduced his 15 players with freshmen Kane and Yost cited for their valuable contributions after being moved up from the B Team full time.

The two combined for a 15 point average as the first off the bench and should be regulars the next three winters.

The six juniors included three-year starter Kayla Hirt with the remaining six praised for their hard work in practice and games to push the regulars to become better players.

At least two of this group will be counted on to fill two additional starting berths next season.

Special appreciation was accorded the seven seniors,. four of whom have been starting for two or more years.,

"It is a group that has grown stronger through each of their four years and set a role model by their hard work the year round to make themselves better players."

Erika Weimann and Abby Hendricks were cited for their ball handling skills, each averaging less than two turnovers per game.

Reserve Grace Felling was singled out for being the "team's spiritual leader both on and off the court."

Also thanked were managers Katie Ditmanson and Alyssa Dokken for providing invaluable aid to the coaching staff and players.

Hirt, who finished her third year with 710 points, dominated the individual awards

She led the team in field goal percentage, free throw percentage, steals, blocked shots and rebounds.

Kane and Yost were named Rookies of the Year.

The other statistical award went to Weimann for the top three point field goal percentage.

Elected by their peers were:

Most Improved Players: Kelsey Heisler and Weimann

Top defensive player: Hendricks

Most Valuable Player: Hirt

The Coaches Award for on and off the court leadership and dedication was earned by Weimann.

Hirt was also cited for making the Coaches Association All-State Team with Weimann and Heisler gaining honorable mention.

Earning All-State Academic awards were Heisler, Selina Gilbertson, Weimann, Hendricks and Felling.

In a lighter mood, Megan Huseby won the Football Helmet Award for her strong, physical style of play and the Jacks Ax for drawing the most fouls during the year.

Gilbertson took the knee pad award for spending the most time on the floor in pursuit of loose basketballs.

Blankets were given to the seven seniors following the team tradition.

Hirt, Hendricks and Weimann were the team's outgoing captains, Hirt will return next year with others to be added after the summer's play.

Earning their 2010 letters were:

SENIORS: Erika Weimann, Abby Hendricks, Kelsey Heisler, Megan Huseby, Selina Gilbertson, Caitlin Gangelhoff and Grace Felling

JUNIORS: Kayla Hirt, Sommer Monsrud and Maren Erpelding

SOPHOMORES: Jenna Sagedahl, Cori Treat and Kellie Morehouse

FRESHMEN; Jess Yost and Kenzie Kane