Micah Friez is a sports reporter for the Bemidji Pioneer. A native of East Grand Forks, he is currently studying Creative and Professional Writing at Bemidji State. Follow him on Twitter at @micahfriez for Lumberjack and Beaver updates.
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BEMIDJI -- Basketball fans in Winona are certainly familiar with Mia Appicelli, but they’ll be getting a new look from her this weekend. Appicelli and the Bemidji State women’s basketball team, which is off to its best conference start since 2012-13, will play host to Upper Iowa and Winona State in hopes of continuing its success. But for Appicelli -- a Winona native -- things will feel a little different than usual.
BEMIDJI -- The Bemidji State men’s basketball team is hitting the reset button. The Beavers (5-6, 2-4 Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference) are coming off a tough stretch to end the first half of their season, but they’re entering the second leg of the schedule with a refreshed mindset.
BEMIDJI -- Before every Bemidji High School girls basketball game, Kennedy Mills has her knee brace ceremonially shined during the starting lineup introductions. When her name is announced, Mills runs through the tunnel, proudly lifts up her knee for a polish and then jogs to center court for the tip off.
BEMIDJI -- When Shaice Marx was hit with career-ending news in July, she was asked an unexpected question by her head coach. “Shaice, do you still want to be a part of the team?”
BEMIDJI -- Colten Jensen made sure there was plenty to cheer about for the Bemidji High School boys basketball team Tuesday. On “Silent Night” -- where the BHS student section kept quiet until the Lumberjacks reached their 10th point of the game -- Jensen hit the double-digit plateau to send fans into pandemonium, then racked up a career-high 24 points to lead Bemidji to a 67-49 win over Detroit Lakes at the BHS Gymnasium.
BEMIDJI -- When halftime hit for the Bemidji High School girls basketball team, head coach Steve Schreiber had a question for them. “We went into the locker room and I said, ‘You know what, ladies, we’re not doing anything we practiced. So you tell me what we have to do better.’” The response? A dominant second half that turned a one-point game by the break into a comfortable 77-55 win over Detroit Lakes from the BHS Gymnasium on Tuesday.
BEMIDJI -- A 76-64 win was just what the doctor ordered for the Bemidji State women’s basketball team. Coming in with a sputtering offense as of late, the Beavers exploded for a season-high 76 points on Saturday, good for a 12-point victory over Minnesota Crookston behind a full-team effort at the BSU Gymnasium.
BEMIDJI -- When Derek Thompson elicited “oohs” and “ahhs” from the crowd with a smooth spin and score from the post, he gave the Bemidji State men’s basketball team a 47-45 lead over Minnesota Crookston with 9 minutes, 24 seconds remaining. But with just three free throws to show for the final nine-plus minutes of offense, the Beavers watched UMC pull away with a 65-50 road win from the BSU Gymnasium on Saturday.
Sophomore forward Lucas Wendt has left the Bemidji State men’s basketball program. He last played for the Beavers Dec. 2 against St. Cloud State. Wendt averaged 14 points per game over eight games this season, 0.1 away from the team high. He led the Beavers in offensive rebounding with 2.1 per game, while playing 24.5 minutes a night, fifth highest on the team. Wendt scored a career-high 22 points against Valley City State on Nov. 17 and was also a starter in his final six games.
BEMIDJI -- When Derek Thompson wasn’t getting playing time for the Bemidji State men’s basketball team, he stayed prepared. And last weekend, both he and the Beavers benefitted from it. “I’m always ready, but obviously I had to be more ready,” Thompson said of playing 62 of 80 total minutes over two games. “Just staying calm and relaxed, staying confident in my abilities, knowing that I can go out there and do what I’m supposed to do. Playing basketball is all I need to do.”