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GIRLS BASKETBALL: New coach guides Jacks as BHS returns nearly entire roster

BEMIDJI -- The Bemidji High School girls basketball team opens its season with a new head coach patrolling the sidelines and a wealth of depth left over from last year.

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Bemidji High School’s Rumer Flatness jumps to shoot the basketball during a game last season held at BHS. (Maggi Stivers | Bemidji Pioneer)

BEMIDJI -- The Bemidji High School girls basketball team opens its season with a new head coach patrolling the sidelines and a wealth of depth left over from last year.

The Lumberjacks’ season tips-off at 7:30 p.m. tonight with a road contest against Thief River Falls.

On the bench for Bemidji will be first-year coach Steve Schreiber, who previously coached Menahga.

“There’s an enthusiasm about basketball here, not only with the girls, but just the whole town in general,” he said. “It’s exciting.”

Emily Falldorf was the Jacks’ lone senior last season, leaving the bulk of the squad in place.

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“That’s gonna be awesome because we’re gonna have a bunch of experience with the girls playing at the pace of the game, the loudness of the gym, just everything,” said sophomore guard Rumer Flatness, Bemidji’s leading scorer in 2015-16.

On Bemidji’s roster are four seniors, five juniors and four sophomores. Along with Flatness, other leading returners include guards Laura Bieberdorf and Hannah Willford, forward Lexi Wade and center Grace Naig.

Schreiber has spent a lot of time in practice working with the team to implement his new system, which the new coach says has taken some getting used to.

“It’s always hard with a new team,” Schreiber said. “They don’t know your system and that’s what we’ve been working really hard (for). I’m a big fundamentals guy. We just haven’t had a lot of time for fundamentals yet and I’m hoping here we should get the system part down in the next couple of weeks and then we can get on fundamentals after that.”

Having started four freshmen in his starting lineup at Menahga last season, Schreiber has experience in utilizing a youthful roster.

“With a 3-A program, the focus has to be on the juniors and seniors,” he said. “It’s their year, you know -- win, lose or draw. And I’m really hoping for the underclassmen -- the sophomores especially -- that we can get that boost that they need to get them to the next level. Juniors and seniors can kind of take care of business, the sophomores can do their thing and hopefully we have a really successful year if we work that way.

“It’s a little easier to run four freshmen or to run four sophomores in a single-A program when you’re not going up against maybe the size and the strength that you see in a 3-A program. So seniors and juniors will run the thing. The sophomores will give them a nice bump offensively and defensively hopefully.”

BHS ended the 2015-16 season at 8-18 after a loss to Alexandria in the first round of the Section 8AAA playoffs. The team’s appetite for wins has not diminished.

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“They’re hungry. I was worried coming into this year with this team that maybe there wouldn’t be a hunger there,” Schreiber said. “You know, 18 losses last year and sometimes you just kind of burnout a bit. They haven’t shown any sign of that all summer and now all winter here. I think that experience in itself will probably lead to more competitive games and hopefully some more wins.”

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It was another perfect Sunday with clear skies and comfortable temperatures on Garfield Lake. Thirty-three racers and crews filled the pits, and the oval track was surrounded by hundreds of fans.
The following is a letter to the editor submitted by a reader and does not reflect the views of the Pioneer. Letters can be sent to letters@bemidjipioneer.com or P.O. Box 455, Bemidji, MN 56601.
The following is a letter to the editor submitted by a reader and does not reflect the views of the Pioneer. Letters can be sent to letters@bemidjipioneer.com or P.O. Box 455, Bemidji, MN 56601.
The following is a letter to the editor submitted by a reader and does not reflect the views of the Pioneer. Letters can be sent to letters@bemidjipioneer.com or P.O. Box 455, Bemidji, MN 56601.