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Bemidji HS Friday Preview: Jacks basketball team hosts Northland Classic tournament

Basketball fans are in for a treat this weekend as the Bemidji High School boys team hosts the annual Northland Lakes and Woods Classic and welcomes Grand Rapids, Park of Cottage Grove and St. Cloud Cathedral.

Grand Rapids and Cathedral open the tournament 6 p.m. today and Bemidji will tangle with Park in tonight's late game.

Saturday's schedule sees Park facing Grand Rapids at 12:30 p.m. and Bemidji meeting Cathedral around 2 p.m.

Lumberjacks coach Jeff Brown knows little about the opposition but this early in the season he is more worried about how the Jacks play than he is with what the opponent might do.

"We want to concentrate on getting better," Brown said.

Bemidji is 2-0 with wins at East Grand Forks (77-55) and Tuesday at Fargo South (78-66).

"We've gone to two difficult places to play and won in each place but we have a long way to go," Brown said. "Our half-court defense is an area we need to work on because we have given up too many points in the paint.

"Our whole system is a work in progress but I like that we play with energy and we have good depth," the coach continued. "In the first game Carey (Woods) was hot and at Fargo South (Ryan) Rude had the hot hand. Mitch (Brown) also was hot before he picked up his fourth foul."

Woods scored 32 in the win over EGF while Rude tallied 29 Tuesday.

"We have balance and it is hard for an opponent to focus on one player," Brown said.

The overall focus this weekend is team improvement and the Lumberjacks are eager to show the home fans what they can do.

"Last year we were 11-1 at home and after two road games we have the opportunity to play in front of friends and family," Brown said. "The kids are eager to play at home and as a coach I'll be looking for consistency and for continued improvement."

The gymnasts begin their season 6 p.m. today at the Gym Bin against Park Rapids. Saturday they will complete their weekend by entertaining Fargo South.

BHS coach Don Papreck is working with a small squad which is led by seniors Katie Jensen, Brooke Beck, Jessi Bergquist and Chelsey Anderson.

Also back are sophomores Alshia Moe and Kylie Stedje, freshman Sara Erickson and eighth grader Amy Carey.

The Lumberjacks girls hockey team will host Holy Angels 7 p.m. today at the Nymore Arena while the wrestlers head to Brainerd for the first two rounds of the Paul Bunyan Invitational.

The girls hockey team hosted Grand Rapids Thursday and will complete its busy week 7 p.m. Saturday when it entertains Moorhead at The Sanford Center.

The wresters were at Willmar Thursday to face Sauk Rapids and Willmar. Saturday they will return to Brainerd for the conclusion of the Paul Bunyan Invitational.

Pat Miller

Pat Miller is the sports editor at the Pioneer.

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