Pat Miller is the sports editor at the Pioneer.
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The Bemidji girls basketball team forged a 32-25 lead at intermission, extended the margin to 14 points with five minutes to play and eventually posted a 55-53 home victory over Cloquet Tuesday. The win upped Bemidji's record to 4-6 and the Lumberjacks will try to improve upon that mark Thursday when they host Duluth East. "We hung on tonight," said BHS coach Rick Kehoe. "We had the 14-point lead and then you could see it happen. We weren't looking to score and we started making mistakes.
Late in the second half of Saturday's memorable boys basketball battle against Moorhead, Bemidji High School coach Jeff Brown turned to his players on the bench. During the past two minutes the lead had changed hands five times, both teams were giving their all and the crowd was fully involved in the proceedings. The tension was thick and the gym was buzzing but as Brown turned to address his bench he was wearing a smile.
The Cass Lake-Bena girls basketball team began the winter with seven losses but last Tuesday at Laporte the Panthers finally notched their first victory as they toppled Laporte 65-36. Joy Smith scored 16 for CL-B while Jordan Jackson and Autumn Brunelle each contributed 14. Jackson also dished seven assists while Brunelle had 14 rebounds and Smith 13. Last Thursday at Clearbrook-Gonvick the Panthers dropped an 80-55 decision, Smith had 11 points and Jackson 10 points and 10 rebounds. Brunelle added 15 boards.
Saturday's game between Bemidji and Moorhead at the BHS gym had all the ingredients required for an entertaining and competitive boys basketball battle. A packed gym, two unbeaten teams and athletes on both sides of the floor who employ an aggressive brand of basketball were on display and when the crowd made their way into the frigid parking lot everyone headed toward their cars buzzing about what they had just witnessed. For the record, Moorhead outlasted the Lumberjacks 84-78 by converting its free throws and outscoring Bemidji 7-2 in the final 1:14.
Adam Holter finished 36th in a field of more than 200 skating-style cross country skiers at Saturday's giant Mesabi East meet held at Giants Ridge. Saturday's event, which is the largest high school cross country race in the country, attracted 1,307 skiers and each varsity division featured more than 200 competitors. Originally scheduled to begin at 10 a.m., the meet was pushed back to noon because of the cold.
Bemidji's gymnasts earned 125.75 at Saturdays' Park Rapids Invitational and trailed only Little Falls which won with 132.70. Long Prairie was third at 120.75 while Park Rapids scored 111.7 and Frazee 104.05. Individually, Katie Jensen placed third in the All-Around with a score of 32.9.
Fergus Falls connected on four of its nine power play opportunities and those player-advantage situations proved to be the difference as the Otters stopped the Bemidji girls hockey team 5-1 Saturday in Fergus Falls. The home team took a 1-0 lead late in the opening stanza with the first of its four power-play goals.
Bemidji returned from this weekend's Hibbing Invitational with three victories in four matches. Friday the Jacks lost to Chisago Lakes but dominated Virginia. Saturday they thumped Nashwauk-Keewatin-Greenway 47-24 and blistered Deer River 42-30. Jake Crosby was a double winner Saturday as he recorded a decision and a pin at 125.
Event championships by Dylan Hoven, Adam Falk and the 200 free relay team powered the Bemidji swimmers and divers to second place at Saturday's Detroit Lakes Invitational. The Lumberjacks scored 344 points and trailed only Detroit Lakes which had 416. Park Rapids, which defeated BHS 95-91 in a dual meet prior to the holiday break, was third with 260.
The Bemidji boys basketball team tuned up for tonight's matchup against unbeaten Moorhead by dismantling Brainerd 83-42 Friday at the BHS gym. The Lumberjacks, who began the weekend ranked fourth in the Minnesota Class 3A poll, improved to 9-0 while the Spuds will head east with a 6-0 record. Brainerd fell to 2-7 after Friday's outcome. Among the losses were 69-47 and 74-60 setbacks at the hands of Moorhead. Bemidji had no trouble with the Warriors as the Lumberjacks used an 11-0 run to forge a 15-5 advantage and never looked back.