The Banner Bracket’s final four is as stacked as could be.
In our quest to find the greatest Bemidji High School state championship team, all of the top four seeds have advanced into the semifinal stage of the bracket.
Four of the best teams to ever represent the Lumberjacks are vying for one more crown, and all are faced with the strongest opponent they’ve met in the bracket field.
The top-seeded 1973 baseball team advanced over the eighth-seeded 2004 girls golf team and will next meet the fourth-seeded 1989 boys golf team, which snuck past the fifth-seeded 1952 football team by three votes.
On the other half of the bracket, the second-seeded 1997 boys golf team outlasted the 1936 boys basketball team, the No. 10 seed and lone upset winner from the first round. The third-seeded 1948 boys basketball team is also still standing after knocking off the sixth-seeded 1988 boys golf team.
Only two will advance to the championship round, of course. We could see an all-golf showdown in a celebration of the winningest program in BHS athletics, a baseball-basketball heavyweight bout or another hybrid in between. Before two of the teams duke it out for the throne, determine which teams are most worthy of the chance to do so.
Quarterfinal voting will remain open for 48 hours, closing at noon on Tuesday, March 31.
View quarterfinal matchups and results here.
UPDATE: View semifinal winners and the championship matchup here.
(1) 1973 baseball vs. (4) 1989 boys golf
1973 baseball: The boys of summer are the top seed for a reason. Earl Sargent threw a no-hitter in the state tournament opener, also driving in the game’s only run for a 1-0 win over Glencoe, and Andy Kannenberg tossed back-to-back four-hitters in the semifinals and finals. Led by head coach Chuck Grillo and assistant Des Sagedahl, the Lumberjacks finished 18-4 and captured their lone state crown with a 3-1 victory over Winona.
1989 boys golf: BHS Athletics Hall of Fame coach Larry Perkins went out with a bang in 1989. Thanks to a team score of 621, BHS captured its second consecutive state title in Perkins’ final season at the helm. Andy Brink and current Bemidji Town and Country Club head professional Rick Grand helped get the job done, winning the championship trophy to pair with its 1988 counterpart already in the trophy case.
Matchup No. 1:— Micah Friez (@micahfriez) March 29, 2020
(2) 1997 boys golf vs. (3) 1948 boys basketball
1948 boys basketball: The 1947-48 boys basketball team was perhaps the mightiest squad ever assembled at BHS. The Lumberjacks won a program-record 28 games, including a 38-29 state title victory over Hopkins. Wes Sabourin and Charles Grover, both all-state selections, respectively scored 13 and nine points in the championship, and Bemidji mayor Lyle Caughey even awarded head coach Mike Lagather the key to the city upon the team’s triumphant return home.
1997 boys golf: The 1997 team may be the most dominant of all Bemidji boys golf squads. The Lumberjacks only lost once all year under head coach Eric Niskanen, and it came when the BHS B Team upended the BHS A Team at the Bemidji Invitational. The Jacks still rolled to the state championship with a team score of 625, and no school in Minnesota has more state titles (seven) or appearances (25) than the Jacks.
Matchup No. 2:— Micah Friez (@micahfriez) March 29, 2020
Editor's note: Due to the polls running in tweet form, only users with Twitter accounts have access to vote. All other voters can submit their entries by emailing email@example.com.