Pat Miller is the sports editor at the Pioneer.
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The Bemidji girls basketball team will play in today's third-place game of the Albert Lea Invitational as the Lumberjacks dropped a 47-43 opening-round decision to Hayfield Monday afternoon. Albert Lea (1-6) and Concordia Academy (4-2) met Monday night in the other first-round matchup and BHS will take on the loser 1:30 p.m. today.
Tyler George, a junior guard from Bagley, shared last week's Pine to Prairie boys basketball Player of the Week honors with Garrett Carlin of Fosston. Tara Evje of Fosston claimed the girls basketball award. George helped the Flyers defeat Waubun, Clearbrook-Gonvick and Mahnomen in mid-December. Bagley extended that winning streak to four games last Tuesday when it thumped Fertile-Beltrami 73-51 to improve to 4-1. The Flyers are averaging 71.4 points per game and yielding 49.2.
The Bemidji winter sports teams enter the final week of the year on winning streaks, and the squads are eager to resume their schedules and try to build upon their early-season success. "The kids are excited to be involved in a bracket-play tournament," said BHS boys hockey coach Wade Chiodo, whose team heads to Duluth on Tuesday for first-round action of the Central-Denfeld Invitational. "It's been a week since we've played and the kids are ready to go." Tournament play also awaits the girls and boys basketball teams and the wrestlers this week.
There are many reasons why the Bemidji boys hockey team is 7-0-1 heading into next week's tournament at Duluth Denfeld. Offensively the Lumberjacks have outscored their opponents 34-9, including 18-0 in the first period.
Allie Heifort made her debut in net and the 16-save performance by the sophomore helped the Bemidji girls hockey team nip International Falls 5-4 Tuesday in the border city. With Emily Denzer out with an injury and Laura Thompson absent from school because of illness Bemidji found itself without a goalie.
After misfiring in the first half the Bemidji boys basketball team found the range in the final 18 minutes and the result was an 81-48 home victory over Sauk Rapids-Rice Tuesday night. "We didn't finish our shots in the first half but we improved on that in the second," said BHS coach Jeff Brown whose team will take a 5-0 record into the opening game at the Chisago Lakes Invitational on Dec. 28. "We had to make some adjustments and we did. I didn't realize how well we played at the start of the second half.
Greta Steever scored the winning basket off an inbounds pass at the buzzer Tuesday to give the Bemidji girls basketball team a 52-50 victory at Moorhead. With the score knotted at 50-50 the Spuds tried to stall the final 42 seconds for the last shot. With less than 10 seconds to play, however, Bemidji stole the ball and had an in-bounds pass under its basket with 1.5 seconds on the clock. "It was a set play with an up-and-down screen where Jess (Yost) screens for Greta," said BHS coach Rick Kehoe.
The Big Bear wrestling tournament hosted by BCLBI in Cass Lake highlighted last week's area action and Fergus Falls took top honors in the 36-team event. The host team tied for 22nd with 65 points and Bagley Fosston finished 28th with 47.5 points. Fergus Falls captured the team title with 180 points. The Otters also had three individual champions, the most of any team in the tournament. BGMR placed second with 167.5 points and Thief River Falls was third with 166.5.
A steady wind from the northwest did not deter the high school skiers who began their 2010-2011 campaigns Saturday at the Montebello Relays hosted by Bemidji at the middle school. "The course was hard-packed and fast," said BHS coach Mark Walters who devised the format which featured two-person teams alternating laps of classical and skating techniques. The Lumberjacks, Little Falls and Brainerd each raced six teams (two boys, two girls and two mixed) and when their combined times were tabulated Little Falls was the winner with a total time of 2:59:15.65.
The pre-Christmas phase of the boys hockey season came to a successful conclusion Saturday as the Lumberjacks dominated Fergus Falls 4-0 at Nymore Arena. Saturday's victory upped Bemidji's record to 7-0-1 and was its third shutout of the winter. The Lumberjacks can now take a breather as they have 10 days off before heading to Denfeld Dec.