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BHS this week: Four teams kick off seasons this week

The winter sports seasons at Bemidji High School kick into full gear this week as the girls basketball, boys basketball, boys hockey and wrestling squads will begin their campaigns.

The lone teams that will wait another week or two are the gymnastics, swimming and skiing teams. The gymnasts will open their season Dec. 10 at Park Rapids while the swimmers, who began their practice schedule Monday, will be at St. Cloud Apollo on Dec. 11 and the Lumberjacks skiers will start Dec. 18 at the Bemidji Relays.

Today sees the girls hockey team at Warroad, the boys hockey squad at East Grand Forks and the girls basketball team hosting Crookston.

The boys basketball squad opens its season Friday at East Grand Forks while the wrestlers will entertain Deer River Friday at 7:30 p.m.

Girls hockey team heads to Warroad

It has been a tough start for the BHS girls hockey team as the Jacks are 0-4 after falling 4-2 to Buffalo and 7-1 to North Wright County over the weekend in Buffalo.

Bemidji will try to snap that string tonight when it heads to Warroad for a 7:30 p.m. test but ending the losing skid will be tough because the Warriors are 3-1 with the lone loss a 3-2 setback to Minnetonka. Their wins have all been one-sided as they have demolished Park Rapids 13-0, Prior Lake 10-0 and Lake of the Woods 14-1.

BHS continues to struggle both offensively and defensively. Allie Lapp leads the attack with three goals while Janie Johnson has the other. Allie Heifort, Karlie Wolkerstorfer and Casey Miller have drawn assists.

Tonight's game ends a four-game road swing. The Lumberjacks will conclude the week with a pair of home contests. Friday finds BHS entertaining North St. Paul at 7 p.m. at Nymore while Saturday it will host Rocori at 1 p.m. That game also will be at Nymore.

Girls BB team opens at home

Basketball fans will have their first chance to see the girls squad in action 7:30 p.m. today when the Jacks welcome Crookston to the BHS gym.

Tonight's contest is the first of three consecutive home appearances. On Thursday the Lumberjacks will entertain Sauk Rapids and next Tuesday they will host Thief River Falls.

Bemidji coach Rick Kehoe doesn't know what to expect this winter because the Jacks return only 8.5 points from last year's state-tournament team.

"Last year we had a 25-win season and went to state but this is a different year with a different team and I don't know what's going to happen," Kehoe said. "We do have the ability to be a strong defensive team. Offensively I think we will have to be choosey with our shot selection. We will need to shorten the game with long possessions."

Kehoe was greeted by six returning letterwinners including seniors Maren Erpelding and Summer Monsrud, juniors Kellie Morehouse, Cori Treat and Jenna Sagedahl plus sophomore Jess Yost.

Yost averaged 8.0 points per game last winter and Erpelding 0.5. And that is all the experience the Jacks have coming back.

"We're young and we're going to make mistakes," Kehoe said. "But I believe this team has room to grow and has great potential."

Boys hockey team opens today at EGF

The Lumberjacks will be battle tested when they begin their home schedule Dec. 16 at the BREC against Thief River Falls. Prior to that game the Jacks will visit East Grand Forks, Monticello, Sartell, Moorhead, Apollo and Warroad.

The first game of that swing will be tonight at EGF while Friday finds the Jacks at Monticello.

"Hockey is hockey and you play no matter where the rink is," said BHS coach Wade Chiodo. "We don't worry about where we play. We just get ready to play the game."

Bemidji returns plenty of experience as 12 Lumberjacks are back from last year's squad.

Tonight's projected lines include Max Hazelton centering Matt Serratore and John Forsythe, Tyler Follis flanked by Jordan Heller and Steven Heller, Eric Hernesman centering Jake White and Will Bruestle plus Easton Halbert centering Garret Lind and James Bofferding.

Defensively the Jacks will pair Tyler Tatro with Matt Port, Dillon Eichstadt with Brady Devescovi plus Kole Spencer with Levi Rickert.

Jeremiah Graves and Ben Schram are the two goalies.

Also expected to see extended playing time this winter are Chris Isenesee and Cameron Dahedl.

Wrestlers welcome Deer River Friday

Rance Bahr begins his second season as the head wrestling coach and he was greeted by 25 varsity candidates when the practice season began last Monday.

The Lumberjacks will open their campaign Friday when they host Deer River with the JV team hitting the mat at 6 p.m.

Friday is also Alumni Night and all fans will be admitted at no charge. Fans and alumni are also invited to a social hour following the meet.

A year ago the Lumberjacks posted a 6-18 record and Bahr believes that this year's squad could double that victory total.

"Although we are young we have experience and I would expect us to finish near .500," the coach said.

"I know that's a big jump but we have kids who put in their time and are working hard and I think the way we match up against the teams in the section should make us competitive."

Boys basketball team heads west

Bemidji's boys basketbal team will open the curtain on what is expected to be another outstanding season Friday when it visits East Grand Forks.

During the last two winters BHS has posted a 33-20 record and a year ago the Jacks were 11-1 at home.

Coach Jeff Brown believes that the Lumberjacks should be able to continue their winning ways this season despite a lack of size.

"We are tiny with an average height of 6-1 but we have experienced kids and we should be solid again this year," Brown said.

"I'm anxious to see how we do."

Pat Miller

Pat Miller is the sports editor at the Pioneer.

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