Brett Delage, who suffered an knee injury during the football season, saw his first minutes of the season Friday and recorded three points.
With last season's leading scorer, Brett Delage hobbled by a knee injury, the Pirates are looking for players to step up and put points on the board.
Enter 6-foot-3 junior center Michael Hefta, who put up a game-high 22 points Friday to lead the Pirates in a 69-61 Section 8AA North win over Warroad in Crookston.
"Michael and Alec Boike got us going in the second half with some big shots," said Pirate head coach Greg Garmen after the win. "Michael has worked on his footwork and his shooting and we are going to need him. We need him and Alec to score in the paint and we need them to keep doing it."
Delage, who suffered a knee injury during the football season, saw his first minutes of the season Friday and recorded three points.
"Brett saw his first action," said Garmen. "He is playing without an ACL and he was a little tentative. He's only going to get stronger. He's a calm presence on the floor for us."
Adding to Hefta's big night was senior Alex Boone with 12 points, ten of which came in the first half. Sophomore Aaron Hollcraft added ten points, while sophomore Ryan Porter and senior Travis Vatthauer each had seven. Senior center Alec Boike chipped in six.
Alan Peterson led Warroad with 14 points. Steve Corneliusen added 13 points, while Kedon Sweetney had 12 and Thomas Angmatsa had ten.
"We couldn't stop Sweetney tonight," noted Garmen, whose Pirates were called on four charging fouls. "We need to figure that out before the next time we face them. We didn't do a good job of that tonight."
With Warroad up 6-5 early in the contest, Hefta sparked a 13-2 run that spanned about three minutes. The run included a three from Vatthauer and one of Hefta's three three-point plays on the night.
Following the big run it was about three minutes until Crookston's next field goal but the next bucket was a big three from Boone to make it 23-16 with six minutes left. Two minutes later, Boone dropped another three to increase the lead to 28-18.
Warroad ended the first half with a 6-0 run to cut the deficit to 28-24 at halftime.
Hefta scored Crookston's first five points of the second half but Warroad jumped out to a 37-35 lead following back-to-back threes by Angmatsa.
Hefta answered with another three-point play, refusing to surrender all the momentum to the Warriors.
Warroad continued scoring, though, and led 41-38 before a bucket by Boike and a three by Porter with 12:51 remaining to give Crookston a 43-41 lead. The Pirates wouldn't trail again.
A 9-4 run over about three minutes by the Pirates, which included a Hollcraft three and a bucket, stretched the lead to 52-47 with 8:22 left.
The win boosts the Pirates to 3-1 on the season and 3-0 against Section 8AA North opponents. Crookston faces Bagley, another 8AA North rival, Tuesday, Dec. 18 in Bagley. Then, on Thursday, Dec. 20, they will have another road game against a section opponent, Pelican Rapids.