Pat Miller is the sports editor at the Pioneer.
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Another second-half rally by the Bemidji girls basketball team came up short as the Lumberjacks dropped a 55-45 decision at Alexandria Saturday. BHS trailed 32-12 at intermission but battled back to a seven-point deficit with three minutes to play. A series of turnovers, however, prevented the Lumberjacks from closing the gap any further and the home team finished with a 10-point triumph. "In the second half we started to play the way we are capable of playing and we took care of the basketball," said Bemidji coach Rick Kehoe.
The Bemidji wrestling team will close its regular season today as the Lumberjacks tangle with St. Cloud Tech at 5 p.m. and Rocori at 6:30 p.m. at Moorhead. Originally the Lumberjacks were also scheduled to face the Spuds but the coaches decided to cancel that meet because the teams already squared off Jan. 29 at Fergus Falls. When the season started BHS coach Rance Bahr was hoping that the Jacks could double last year's victory total of six.
The Bemidji girls hockey team is headed to Monticello Saturday for its Section 8AA quarterfinal contest as the Lumberjacks were given the seventh seed while North Wright County was ranked second. BHS will tangle with the River Hawks at 7 p.m. Saturday's other quarterfinal matchups send No. 8 River Lakes to No. 1 Roseau and No. 5 St. Cloud to No. 4 Sartell in the upper bracket and No. 6 Moorhead to No. 3 Brainerd-Little Falls in the lower bracket. Saturday's winners will lock horns 7 p.m. Tuesday at the homes of the higher seeds and the Section 8AA championship game will be 7 p.m.
Duluth East headed to Bemidji Thursday night ranked No. 9 in the state Class 4A division and all who seriously follow Minnesota high school basketball have heard of the Greyhounds' star player Johnny Woodard. The Lumberjacks, led by Carey Woods, have had a successful campaign as well and entered Thursday's contest rated eighth in the Class 3A poll. Fans were expecting a see-saw battle Thursday and for 12 minutes that's what they enjoyed.
During the pre-season practices the Bagley boys basketball players decided that this year's goal was to finish the season undefeated. They felt that their experience and talent could take them all the way to a state championship and that winning every game was possible. That goal, however, proved unattainable as Bagley lost 65-60 to Ulen-Hitterdal in its season opener. "The players felt bad after losing the first game because they wanted to go undefeated," said Flyers coach Chuck Anderson.
Jim Jensen's 50-point performance against Woodbury in the 1978 state tournament consolation semifinals stood as the Bemidji High School single-game record for more than a generation. Tuesday night, however, Carey Woods scored 52 at Grand Forks Central to eclipse Jensen's mark and establish a new school standard. Jensen now owns a company in Anchorage, Alaska and 33 years after the moment he still remembers the record-setting performance against Woodbury. "It was the state tournament and I remember that we tried as hard as we could to represent Bemidji," Jensen said.
Carey Woods and his Bemidji boys basketball teammates do not have much time to savor Tuesday's record-setting performance at Grand Forks Central as the Lumberjacks return to the court 7:15 p.m. today when they host Duluth Central. Tuesday night at GFC Woods set a school record with 52 points. His effort bettered the mark of 50 which was set by Jim Jensen in 1978. "So far, scoring 52 points has been the highlight of my career," Woods, a junior shooting guard, said.
The Bemidji Nordic ski teams will send three athletes to the state meet on Feb. 17 as Tony Sagedahl, Adam Holter and Bailey Drewes finished among the top-eight qualifiers during Tuesday's Section 8AA meet at Camp Ripley. Little Falls won both the boys and the girls team titles, nipping Bemidji in the boys event. In the girls team chase Bemidji was fourth.
The Bemidji boys hockey team put itself into the driver's seat for the top seed in the Section 8AA tournament Tuesday by battling Moorhead to a 2-2 overtime tie at the Bemidji Community Arena. The Lumberjacks ended their section play with a 6-0-2 record while Moorhead finished 5-1-2. Tuesday's tie was the second between the two rivals as they deadlocked 1-1 earlier this year in Moorhead. Spuds coach Dave Morinville knew that the top seed was on the line and he did everything he could to find a way for his team to win.
Trips to the state meet will be on the line today as the Bemidji Nordic ski teams head to Camp Ripley for the 8AA competition. "It should be an exciting day," said BHS coach Mark Walters. "The skiers are as ready as they can be." A year ago Bemidji finished second to Little Falls in both the boys and the girls team races. The Flyers are favored again this year but Walters believes the Lumberjacks could challenge Little Falls for the boys title. "I'm an optimistic person," the coach said.