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This week at BHS: Busy week for Bemidji High School fans

Bemidji’s Connor McNallan tries to step in front of St. Cloud Cathedral’s Conor Voss to deny a pass along the baseline during Saturday’s game. Pat Miller | Bemidji Pioneer

The winter sports seasons at Bemidji High School are in full swing and all of them were scheduled to be in action this week. The Nordic ski teams, however, can’t compete without snow and its absence has forced school officials to cancel Saturday’s scheduled home meet at the Montebello Trails. As was the case last winter, snow has been slow to arrive. Over the weekend the Bemidji area received about an inch of light, fluffy snow but the skiers will need much more than that before they can successfully train or sponsor a competition. With Saturday’s meet scrapped the skiers will turn their attention to Dec. 20 when they are scheduled to travel to a competition near Detroit Lakes at a venue featuring man-made snow. Boys basketball A new era began over the weekend when Dan Ninham made his debut as the Lumberjacks boys basketball coach. The Lumberjacks dropped both games at the Woods and Lakes Classic in Bemidji, falling 74-73 to East Grand Forks and dropping a 94-85 decision to St. Cloud Cathedral. Area basketball fans who have followed Ninham’s coaching career, which includes more than a decade as the head coach at Cass Lake-Bena, know that he preaches a pressure defense that compliments a fast-moving offense. Those tactics require athletes who are in great shape and who are willing to go all-out all of the time. “I don’t want us to be a run-and-gun team. I want us to be a run-and-score team,” Ninham said. “We need to be aggressive trappers and interceptors because that sets up our scoring opportunities.” During the Woods and Lakes Classic the Lumberjacks constantly manufactured scoring opportunities. Many of those chances resulted in points but others ended with turnovers or missed shots. When a team adopts a fast-pace style, mistakes are going to happen. And Ninham, at least for now, can live with less-than-perfect execution. “We’re a growing team and we are growing together,” he said. “We want to make improvements every day and I can see that we are doing that. Overall, (last weekend) I saw more positives than negatives.” The Jacks open the year with a five-game homestand. That stretch continues 7:30 p.m. Friday against Rogers and 4:30 p.m. Saturday against St. Michael-Albertville. On Dec. 18 the homestand will end against Brainerd and the final pre-Christmas game will be Dec. 20 at East Grand Forks. Girls basketball BHS has opened with three losses and the Jacks will try to snap that losing skid 7:30 p.m. today when they entertain Hibbing. The Bluejackets will bring a 2-1 record into the Bemidji gym, downing Duluth Denfeld 75-51 and Greenway Coleraine 102-25 but losing 50-35 to Grand Rapids. The Lumberjacks lost only 55-50 at Grand Rapids. The other setbacks have come at the hands of Pequot Lakes (86-63) and Thief River Falls (65-32). On Friday the Jacks will visit Rogers and Saturday they will travel to St. Michael-Albertville. Swimming Bemidji opened its season Saturday at the St. Cloud Apollo relays after only four days of practice. Today it will make its home debut with a 6 p.m. dual meet against Thief River Falls. The meet is the lone action of the week for the Lumberjacks. They will return to the pool Dec. 18 at Park Rapids and will close the year at the Brainerd Invitational on Dec. 27. Gymnastics The gymnasts are off to a very fine start as they topped the 132-point barrier both Friday and Saturday in meets at the Gym Bin, reaching 133.725 Saturday in a triangular against Fargo South and Fargo Davies. “I was hoping that we would score this high early in the year but I am pleasantly surprised that we are,” said BHS coach Don Papreck. Today the Lumberjacks head to Detroit Lakes for their initial road meet. They were scheduled to entertain Little Falls Friday but that meet has been switched to Little Falls because certified judges could not make the trip to Bemidji. The team’s depth was its main weapon over the weekend. In the dual against Park Rapids the Jacks won all four events and four different girls set the standards. Alyshia Moe was the vault winner, Haley Gregg took the bars, Sara Erickson claimed the bean and Amy Carey won the floor. Brittney Beck also contributed to the weekend success as she was fifth in the all around competition against Park Rapids. Hockey Both the boys and girls teams are in action today as the boys host Warroad 7:30 p.m. at the Sanford Center while the girls head to Crookston. Wade Chiodo’s boys squad is 2-3 and is coming off Saturday’s 3-2 home win over St. Cloud Tech. The Jacks will have three games this week as they visit Thief River Falls Thursday and travel to Monticello Saturday. They will close their pre-Christmas slate Dec. 22 at home against Brainerd. The girls team is still seeking its first win of the year. BHS is 0-5-4 following last week’s 4-3 home loss to Grand Rapids-Greenway. Today it travels to Crookston to face a Pirates team that is 4-3. BHS will also be home Saturday when it hosts Warroad at 4 p.m. at the Community Arena. The Warriors are 7-1-1 and among the wins are a 14-0 victory over Bemidji and a 10-0 win over Crookston. Wrestling The wrestlers have a busy week as they host Grand Rapids Thursday and visit Cass Lake Friday and Saturday for the Big Bear hosted by BCLB. Bemidji is off to a quick start as the Jacks swamped Deer River 65-9 in their only dual action, won the Fosston-Bagley Invitational and placed third at last weekend’s Paul Bunyan Invitational hosted by Brainerd. Brian Maas won the 113-pound division at the Brainerd meet and Kade Johnson took the 170-pound crown. Contributing seconds were Craig Maas at 138 and Alex Johnson at heavyweight.

Pat Miller

Pat Miller is the sports editor at the Pioneer.

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