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This week at Bemidji High School: Tournament play continues

The seasons have ended for some of the varsity teams at Bemidji High School while others are about to begin their postseason tournaments.

Last week the girls hockey team saw its campaign come to a close when it lost 3-0 to eventual Section 8-2A tournament champion North Wright County in the section semifinals.

The gymnasts also have completed their year as they placed fourth at Saturday’s Section 8A meet in Park Rapids.

The Lumberjacks did not qualify anyone for the state tournament as section champ Perham and runner-up Detroit Lakes claimed most of the top individual spots.

Bemidji’s skiers also have ended their year. Last week Kyle and Tony Sagedahl represented the boys team at the state meet while Jenna Truedson and Morgan Sagedahl were the girls representatives.

Kyle Sagedahl finished 43rd at state and Tony Sagedahl was 62nd. Truedson placed 66th and Morgan Sagedahl was 87th.

Today the boys hockey team enters the postseason and the fourth-seeded Lumberjacks will own the home-ice advantage as they entertain No. 5 St. Cloud Cathedral at 7 p.m. at the Community Arena.

The wrestlers have completed their section team tournament and BHS advanced to the semifinals last Saturday where it lost 58-12 to Little Falls. Earlier in the tournament the Lumberjacks upset Brainerd 39-24 in the quarterfinals.

On Friday and Saturday Bemidji will travel to Brainerd for the section individual meet. The top two wrestlers in each weight class will advance to the state tournament and the Lumberjacks should be in the hunt for state berths in a number of weight classes.

The girls basketball team hosted St. Cloud Apollo Monday and will end its regular season at home Thursday against Grand Rapids. The Jacks will learn their playoff fate over the weekend as the coaches vote on the section seeding positions. The tournament will begin Tuesday at the homes of the higher seeds.

Bemidji’s swimmers and divers also will shoot for berths in the state meet as the Lumberjacks welcome their Section 5A peers Friday and Saturday in the section meet.

The boys basketball team won its second game of the year Saturday when it downed Sauk Rapids 68-58 at the BHS gym. Saturday’s victory upped the team’s record to 2-18 and today the Jacks will try to continue that success at Buffalo. Bemidji will close its road season with games Thursday at Grand Rapids and Feb. 26 at Thief River Falls.

The regular season will end with home games against Detroit Lakes on March 1 and Duluth Denfeld on March 2.

Boys hockey

Bemidji defeated St. Cloud Tech 3-2 in early December and that victory eventually vaulted BHS over Tech in the section seedings.

The reward for that win was hosting Tech tonight instead of making the 3-hour trip to St. Cloud.

“We’ve been to the St. Cloud area four times this winter and it’s nice to have them come up here for a change,” said Jacks coach Wade Chiodo.

Bemidji is 7-16-2 overall while Tech is 15-10. Against section opponents the Lumberjacks went 4-5-1 and Tech was 4-5.

Records, however, mean nothing when the puck is dropped for tournament play.

“The playoffs are the fun part of the season,” Chiodo said. “In sports the kids get to participate in the playoffs only a handful of times during their career and this is their time to shine. Playing well in the playoffs is what you work toward all year.”

On paper tonight’s game is a toss-up and Chiodo said that special team play probably will have a bearing on the outcome.

“We’ve been up and down all season with our special teams but when that aspect of our game is on we can be a tough team to play against,” he said. “We will need to create space by moving our feet and our hands and we will have to put pucks on the net.

“In playoff hockey special teams are crucial,” Chiodo continued. “You have to take advantage of every opportunity.”

Swimming and diving

Bemidji hosts the eight-team section meet this year and the action will begin 5 p.m. Friday with the preliminaries. On Saturday the athletes who qualified for the eight-lane championship and eight-lane consolation races will return to the pool at noon.

The top three athletes in each event, plus any who reach the state qualification standards, will advance to the state meet.

BHS should challenge for some of those state berths and among the individuals who could be in the hunt are diver Sam Howard and Tyler Hemp in the 100 breast stroke. The Lumberjacks also should be in the thick of things in the 200 medley and 200 free relays.

“I’m sure we’ll see many of our athletes making the final heat and if you have a lane, you have a chance to make state,” said BHS coach Woody Leindecker.

“During the last few meets we’ve been swimming very well despite being tired because of our training,” the coach continued. “I’m looking forward to seeing how they do after being rested.”

Girls basketball

Bemidji began the winter 0-8 but the Lumberjacks were riding an 8-7 streak heading into Monday’s home game against St. Cloud Apollo.

That push has given coach Rick Kehoe some ammunition that he can use when the coaches get together to determine the section seedings.

BHS is likely to be a sixth or seventh seed and probably will travel to Rogers or Elk River on Feb. 26 for the Section 8-4A quarterfinals.

If they could pull off the upset the Jacks would travel to St. Cloud State on March 2 for the section semifinals.

“This last week of the regular season our goals are to battle for a better seeding position and to gain a confidence boost for the tournament,” Kehoe said. “We have been playing better basketball since Christmas and the main reason is that we are making better decisions. Everyone on the team has improved.”