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Pat Miller: This week at Bemidji High School - pre-holiday push is under way

The final push before the holiday break is underway at Bemidji High School as the Lumberjacks winter sports programs will crunch 14 varsity events into four days.

The hectic pace begins today with five teams in action. Enjoying the home advantage are the boys swimmers and the girls basketball team. The swimmers will make their home debut at 6 p.m. against Park Rapids while the girls basketball players will host Moorhead at 7:30 p.m.

The swimmers are 1-0 in dual action, defeating Thief River Falls 100-47 last week. On Saturday the Lumberjacks placed fourth in a five-team meet in St. Cloud. The event was a special meet which included only relay races, ranging in distance from the 200 free and 200 medley relays to the 850 free relay.

In between the teams swam relays in the butterfly, breast stroke and back strokes.

Today’s meet is the only action for the swimmers this week. They will return to duty Dec. 27 at the Brainerd Invitational.

The girls basketball team closes its pre-Christmas schedule with two games this week. Today the Jacks (2-2) will entertain Moorhead at 7:30 and on Thursday they will make the trip to International Falls.

BHS is coming off Friday’s 60-24 loss to St. Michael-Albertville.

A trio of Bemidji teams will hit the road today. The girls hockey team will visit Thief River Falls, the boys hockey team will travel to East Grand Forks and the boys basketball squad will head to Brainerd.

The boys basketball squad is 1-7 after dropping a pair of games during a weekend road trip to the south. On Friday Bemidji fell 89-66 at Rogers and on Saturday it lost 72-54 at Brainerd.

James Hendricks led the attack with 37 points in the two games, including 22 against Monticello. Collin Rutledge had 17 points in Saturday’s loss.

Today’s game is the first of three this week. On Thursday BHS will host East Grand Forks and on Saturday the Jacks will be home against Minneapolis North.

The boys hockey team has a pair of games this week, visiting East Grand Forks today and traveling to Brainerd on Saturday. The Jacks are 3-3 after blitzing Monticello 4-0 Saturday at the Bemidji Community Arena.

Success on the power play spearheaded the victory as the Lumberjacks connected on three of their man-advantage opportunities. Noah Burn, Michael Forseth and Rocky Copiskey scored in the opening stanza and Sam Bruestle connected in the second period.

Bemidji’s road swing continues after Christmas as BHS will play in the Duluth Denfeld tournament starting on Dec. 26.

The girls hockey team dropped a 2-1 overtime decision Saturday at Warroad and will take a 3-6-2 record into tonight’s game at Thief River Falls. Megan Dondelinger scored the lone goal and Leighton Rockensock had 33 saves.

The final pre-holiday game for the Lumberjacks will be Saturday when they host Brainerd at 3 p.m.

For the first time in a few years there was sufficient snow cover for the Nordic skiers to hold their season-opening Montebello Relays and Saturday the Lumberjacks placed third in the seven-team field.

The event combined the results of the boys varsity, girls varsity and mixed varsity relay races.

A lack of snow should not be an issue the rest of the winter and on Thursday the skiers will test themselves at the Detroit Lakes Invitational at Maplelag Ski Area.

Friday’s schedule sees the gymnastics team heading to the Fargo South Invitational. On Friday the Lumberjacks scored 134.35 points in a home dual victory over Little Falls. Individually, Haley Gregg scored 33.75 in the all around and Alyssa Allen tallied 33.375.

Capping the week’s schedule is the Big Bear wrestling tournament hosted by Cass Lake-Bena. Bemidji will be among the 33 teams expected to compete and two of the Jacks — Brian Maas at 113 pounds and Kade Johnson at 182 — are rated high in the individual state rankings.

Maas, is listed as the No. 2 wrestler in his weight class while Johnson is ranked fourth.

Action at the Big Bear begins at 11 a.m. both days. Admission for adults is $12 per day or $20 for a two-day pass. The student prices are $7 and $10.

Pat Miller

Pat Miller is the sports editor at the Pioneer.

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