Pat Miller is the sports editor at the Pioneer.
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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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
Carey Woods had the game of his life Tuesday at Grand Forks Central as the junior hit from everywhere on the court to lead the Lumberjacks to a 93-65 victory. Woods finished with a career-best 52 points and that total is thought to be a Bemidji High School record. The junior was removed from the action in the fourth quarter but when BHS coach Jeff Brown was informed that Woods was a few points shy of the record, which is thought to be owned by Jim Jensen, Brown reinserted his shooting guard onto the floor. "I had no clue that I was anywhere near a record until they put me back in with a min
After spotting Blackduck-Cass Lake-Bena-Indus a 9-0 lead the Bemidji wrestlers won eight of the next nine matches to take control and down the Bears 49-27 in the opening match of Tuesday's triangular hosted by Fosston-Bagley. Bemidji capped a successful evening by defeating the host team 54-21 in the triangular's finale. Tuesday's wins upped Bemidji's record to 16-9. The Lumberjacks prevailed in eight of the 11 contested matches against the Bears.
The Aaron Wald team, which includes Joshua Bahr of Bemidji, will represent the United States at the 2011 World Junior Curling Championships March 5-13 in Perth, Scotland after winning the USA junior men's meet over the weekend in Fairbanks, Alaska. After posting a 6-3 record in the round-robin Wald was seeded second and defeated top-seeded Alex Leichter of Massachusetts in the semifinals. Stephen Dropkin of Massachusetts also gained the final by defeating John Landsteiner of Wisconsin 9-5 and eliminating Leichter 8-6. In the final, Wald stopped Dropkin 6-3. Dropkin stole a point in the thi