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Bemidji HS girls basketball team to find state opponent Saturday

Selina Gilbertson and the Bemidji girls basketball team will find their opponent for Wednesday's state opener when the brackets are determined today. Pioneer Photo/Eric Stromgren

The Bemidji High School girls basketball team took an earned rest day on Friday following Thursday night's emotional Section 7-3A championship win over Hibbing.

While the team took it easy in a light shoot-around practice Friday afternoon, head coach Rick Kehoe was busy preparing an itinerary for the week at state and looking ahead to Saturday's seeding process.

The eight-team field for the state tournament has been set after the last of the section finals Friday night.

In the 2010 tournament with Bemidji (25-1) is Willmar (23-4), Hill-Murray (23-5), Benilde-St. Margaret's (27-2), New Prague (20-9), Annadale (20-7), DeLaSalle (29-0) and Sartell-St. Stephen (23-5).

Play begins Wednesday at Williams Arena on the University of Minnesota campus and Bemidji's game time has yet to be determined. The Jacks will either play at 10 a.m., noon, 2 p.m. or 4 p.m.

Saturday morning, Kehoe and the rest of the tournament qualifying coaches will rank the other teams one through seven in a secret ballot system conducted on the Internet.

At 11 a.m. after all the coaches have ranked the teams, there is a conference call where the top four seeds are announced. The bottom four ranked teams are then drawn randomly to create the quarterfinal pairings.

Bemidji is currently on a 20-game winning streak and were ranked No. 3 in the final Minnesota Basketball News Class 3A poll at the end of February. The Lumberjacks were ranked behind No. 1 DeLaSalle and No. 2 Benilde-St. Margaret's in the only poll recognized by the Associated Press.

Hill-Murray was No. 4, Ne Prague was No. 5 and Willmar was No. 10.

Annandale, which upset Rogers in the Section 5 title game, was not ranked. Also unranked was Sartell, which upset Alexandria in the Section 8 title game Friday.

In Class 3A rankings provided by Friday, Bemidji is ranked No. 1 ahead of No. 2 DeLaSalle, No. 3 Benilde-St. Margaret's and No. 4 Hill-Murray.

Kehoe believes the Jacks are in line for a No. 2 or a No. 3 seed.

The Jacks plan to practice as normal after school Monday afternoon.

The student body will host a pep fest at 9:40 Tuesday morning in the high school gym and the team will begin its trip to Minneapolis after it ends. The team will take an afternoon break for a practice at St. Michael-Albertville High School.

After checking into the team hotel, the Jacks will attend a banquet for the participating state teams before turning in for the evening.

The No. 1 seed in the tournament draws the 10 a.m. game, No. 4 draws the noon game, No. 2 draws the 2 p.m. game and No. 3 draws the 4 p.m. game on Wednesday.

The winners meet in the semifinal games Thursday at Target Center in Minneapolis at noon and 2 p.m.

The Class 3A state championship game is at Target Center at 6 p.m. Saturday.