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This week at Bemidji High School: Skiers, girls hockey team begin playoffs

The postseason for a pair of Bemidji High School teams begins this week while the other squads are in the stretch runs of their winter seasons.

Today the ski teams will be at Camp Ripley for the Section 8 meet and the boys will be trying to find a way to sneak past Brainerd for the championship.

All winter Brainerd has had an edge over the Lumberjacks but the difference has been slight.

A week ago BHS and Brainerd locked horns at the Bemidji Pursuit at Buena Vista and the Warriors nipped the Jacks 384-370.

Individually, however, Bemidji’s Kyle Sagedahl and Tony Sagedahl finished 2-3. If they can duplicate that effort, and have a little more support from the other skiers, the Lumberjacks have a chance to overtake Brainerd.

Trips to the state meet, which will be Feb. 14 at Giant’s Ridge, also are on the line today and the Sagedahl brothers should be in the hunt for two of them. A year ago both boys qualified for state and Kyle finished 52nd. Tony wasn’t far behind in 61st.

In today’s section girls meet Little Falls appears to be the team to beat. BHS does have a shot at sending an individual or two to state and the top candidates to accomplish that feat probably are Morgan Sagedahl and Jenna Truedson.

The girls hockey team also begins its push for a berth at the state meet this week.

The Section 8-2A quarterfinals begin Saturday and Bemidji most likely will open against St. Cloud. The Lumberjacks closed their regular season Saturday with a 3-1 victory at Brainerd. That win gave BHS a 10-9-5 overall record and a 5-3-1 mark against section opponents.

Bemidji enters the week seeded No. 5 in the section’s QRF rankings while St. Cloud (13-10-1, 5-5-0) is fourth. The final seedings, however, are determined by a coaches’ vote and not the QRF. The vote will be taken Wednesday.

St. Cloud will end its season today at Willmar (13-9-1) in a non-section match-up.

If the playoffs began today the Lumberjacks probably would travel to St. Cloud on Saturday but if St. Cloud loses at Willmar there would be a legitimate argument for moving Bemidji up to the No. 4 spot in the seedings and dropping St. Cloud to No. 5.

During the regular season St. Cloud nipped BHS 3-1 in St. Cloud.

North Wright County (19-4-1) will be the top seed while Roseau (15-8-1) appears locked into second and Sartell (15-8-2) into third. The bottom three teams also have been determined as River Lakes (9-11-4) will be sixth, Moorhead (7-15-1) seventh and Brainerd (2-22-1) eighth.

Back to work

The regular season continues this week for Bemidji’s other programs. The girls basketball team will have the home spotlight today when it hosts Brainerd. On Saturday the Lumberjacks will head to Alexandria.

BHS improved to 4-14 Friday when it outlasted East Grand Forks 68-64. Senior Jess Yost scored 32 points and grabbed her 1,000th career rebound to lead the Jacks to the victory.

The boys basketball team (1-15) also made the news Saturday in a 111-90 loss at Moorhead. The Lumberjacks set a Minnesota high school record by firing 65 shots from 3-point land (the old record was 50) and the 18 successful 3-pointers ranks third in the state record books.

The squad will be home Thursday against Duluth East and on Saturday it will visit Alexandria.

The wrestlers (10-8) close their regular season this week with three outings. Today they will head to Brainerd to face the home team and Sartell and on Thursday they will visit Pine River. Friday finds the Jacks they hosting Moorhead and St. Cloud Tech.

The swimmers make the long trip to Duluth East on Thursday in their final test before the section meet which will be in Bemidji Feb. 22-23.

The boys hockey team (7-14-1) is off until 3 p.m. Saturday when it entertains Moorhead at the Community Arena. Over the weekend the Lumberjacks fell 7-1 at home to Breck. The Mustangs are ranked No. 2 in the state Class A poll.

A legend is gone

In 1974 the Bemidji High School boys basketball team captured the state Class 2A title, shading Richfield 52-50 in the championship game.

The architect of the memorable team and season was head coach Jack Luoma. A 20-year assistant coach for Bun Fortier, Jack assumed the basketball head coaching duties in 1970 and in his 10 years at the helm his teams compiled a 140-81 record.

After handing off the head basketball duties to Mel Johnson following the 1979 campaign Luoma became the BHS activities director and held that post until retiring in 1987.

In 2002 Luoma was inducted into the Bemidji High School Hall of Fame and four years later he became a member of the Bemidji State University Hall of Fame.

He is one of only six people who could claim memberships in both Hall of Fames.

Sunday morning the community lost the legendary coach, teacher and person when Luoma died of complications from Parkinson’s and a broken hip. He was 86.

His funeral will be 10:30 a.m. Friday at St. Philips.

Pat Miller

Pat Miller is the sports editor at the Pioneer.

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