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Jacks basketball team honored at Awards Night

The Bemidji Lumberjacks basketball team was honored Sunday night at its annual Award Night banquet at Calvary Lutheran Church. Special guests were the 10 lettermen who played for the varsity this winter plus members of the B Team. Head Coach Jeff...

The Bemidji Lumberjacks basketball team was honored Sunday night at its annual Award Night banquet at Calvary Lutheran Church.

Special guests were the 10 lettermen who played for the varsity this winter plus members of the B Team.

Head Coach Jeff Brown served as emcee for the evening, thanking the parents, press and Bemidji Basketball Booster Club for their aid and support through the winter.

Steve Thompson introduced the B Team, his first coaching unit, which ended 5-20 this winter.

He viewed the group as a hard working unit that never quit at any time no matter how far behind it might be.

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He encouraged the players to continue their development through off season training.

Alex Mueller and Jeff Schaper spoke for the team giving their memories of their final season. They also urged their underclass teammates to dedicate themselves toward improvement next winter.

Brown cited conversations he had with three varsity coaches after this season, all productive at the high school, college and professional levels.

All three, he said, stressed total commitment by players in order to be successful and hard work between March and November.

Brown stressed that the Jacks are playing a tougher schedule with the addition of several Central Lakes Conference foes each season. "We must work harder to reach that level," he said.

He stated that his year's team lacked consistency with some players performing well on some nights and others on other nights but the nights when the entire team played well were infrequent.

The varsity ended 6-10. Poor shooting was its major weakness with the team ending with a weak 38 percent field goal shooting and 57.3 percent free throw shooting.

It was outscored 67.3 to 54.7 and out rebounded 31-29 during the season.

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Chris Lehman, the Jacks freshman coach, presented the annual Troy Nelson Award to Ryan Rude.

The award is named for the former BHS cage assistant who died from leukemia in 2001, and goes to a freshman team player for team leadership, positive attitude and winning spirit.

Rude, only an eighth grader, rose from the C Team to the B Team at mid season and to the varsity at the season's end.

Other awards were presented by Brown and assistant Jim Walker.

Some were statistics awards and others voted by the team.

Muller won the Most Steals, Field Goal Percentage, Most Assists and Defensive Player awards.

Andrew Hengel won the scoring leader trophy, scoring 275 points during the year.

David Sand had the Most Blocks, Doug Bender the Most Rebounds and Bender and Tanner Baker shared the free throw percentage award.

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The Coaches' Award was earned by Schaper.

Bender was voted Most Valuable Player by his teammates.

In closing, Brown stressed summer play with many players already engaged in AAU play. All are expected to take part in the 10,000 shot program this summer and were urged to attend the skills training program in the summer.

Earning their 2007 cage letters were:

SENIORS: Andrew Hengel, Chris Marty, David Sand, Alex Muller, Avery Bretschneider, Mike Erpelding and Jeff Schaper

JUNIORS: Doug Bender, Trent Baker and Drew Baker.

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