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Seniors on the Bigfork High School boys basketball team are, from left, Ben Heinle, Liam Prato and James Rauzi.

BIGFORK — Chad Lovdahl is entering his 18th season as head coach of the Bigfork High School boys basketball team and he expects the Huskies to be a solid team this season.

Bigfork finished last season with a 16-11 record but was hurt by graduation in the loss of starters Carter Cook and Pat Myers.

“We have some experience returning,” Lovdahl said. “We have three seniors returning who got a lot of experience last year.”

Returning starters for the Huskies this season are senior point guard Ben Heinle, 6-foot, 6-inch senior center Liam Prato who averaged 16 points and 10 rebounds per game, senior forward James Rauzi, and junior guard Jared Lovdahl who averaged 10 points per game.

Other players who will be battling for playing time include freshman guard Jhace Pearson, sophomore guard Jackson Lovdahl, sophomore guard Austin Johnson, junior forward Brady Kinn, sophomore forward Coltin Rahier, junior forward Dylan Elhardt, sophomore center Caden Kallinen, freshman guard Mankin Wilde, junior center Sean Torgrimson, junior forward Aaron Hovila, and sophomore center Wyatt Haley.

“We lost 25 points a game from Carter Cook and a half a dozen points from Myers so we have some big shoes to fill,” said Lovdahl. “We are really going to have to play well on defense and be patient with the basketball. Liam Prato has worked a lot and he will be a big key for us this year with him in the middle.”

In Section 7A this season, Lovdahl feels that Nashwauk-Keewatin enters the season as the favorite. He said North Woods will be solid once again.

“From there, I think it is going to be pretty open battle as everybody is going to be pretty competitive,” Lovdahl explained. “We are looking forward to a good season.”

In the Northern Lakes Conference, Nashwauk-Keewatin is obviously the favorite with Deer River, Northland-Remer, Chisholm and Bigfork also being competitive.

Assisting Lovdahl in the coaching department this year will be Ray Cole, Beth Jacobson and Peter Johnson. Cole will be the varsity assistant and B squad coach and was an assistant coach under Jerry Chiabotti for many years when the former was coaching the Huskies. In fact, he served as Lovdahl’s junior high coach. Cole replaces Clint Cook who was a member of Lovdahl’s staff for 17 years, and had been involved in the program for more than 20 years.

“This is going to be a good group to coach,” Lovdahl said. “These kids really get after it and work hard. They have good quickness and get up and down the floor. We are really looking forward to a fun season with a great group of kids that we have here.”

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