Sophomore Aaron Hollcraft posted a game-high 17 points, while seniors Travis Vatthauer and Alex Boone each had 14 points.
Despite some bumpy terrain, the Pirate Boys' Basketball team opened its season Saturday afternoon with a 63-55 Section 8AA North win over Park Rapids.
Sophomore Aaron Hollcraft posted a game-high 17 points, while seniors Travis Vatthauer and Alex Boone each had 14 points. Off the bench, sophomore Ryan Porter added nine points for the Pirates and junior center Michael Hefta had eight points.
"Besides Aaron Hollcraft and Alec Boike, everybody is pretty much new to their roles," said Pirate head coach Greg Garmen after the win. "Guys are still getting used to each other. We had a few looks early at our offense but it broke down."
Tyler McCollum led Park Rapids with 13 points, while Kyle Goplerud had ten.
Rebounding was a problem for the Pirates.
"Boxing out was a problem," said Garmen. "It was obvious from the stands on free throws because the guys are just standing there. I think that happened three times and they scored on all three of them."
Things started well for Crookston as it jumped out out to an 11-0 lead. Boone scored seven of those points. Park Rapids didn't make its first field until five and a half minutes in. The Panthers rallied back, though, and tied the game at 19-19 with just under five minutes left in the first half.
Crookston led 26-21 at the half and stretched the lead to ten early in the second half with a 7-2 run, including a Vatthauer three, to make it 33-23.
Park Rapids cut the deficit to one with a 10-2 run over about three minutes. Crookston went more than three minutes without a field goal.
Vatthauer sunk a three, though, and Hefta added a bucket to give the Pirates some cushion. Crookston hit 11 of 14 free throws in the final four minutes to seal the win.
Pirate senior guard Brett Delage, who led the team in scoring last season, did not play. He suffered a knee injury during football season but hopes to play this season.
"It's good to get the season started," said Garmen. "We have a different rotation without Brett. Jonathan Miller is a different type of player. Ryan Porter used his minutes well. We had three sophomores on the floor at times."
The Pirates will host Perham Friday, Dec. 7 at 7:30 p.m.