Sophomore Aaron Hollcraft had 18 points and three other Pirates scored in double figures as the Pirates beat Warren-Alvarado-Oslo 60-55.
Sophomore Aaron Hollcraft had 18 points and three other Pirates scored in double figures as the Pirates beat Warren-Alvarado-Oslo 60-55 in the first round of the 30th annual Northwest Russ Smith Holiday Classic Thursday in Thief River Falls.
Crookston led 35-17 at halftime but the Ponies stormed back in the second half, outscoring the Pirates by 13 points, only to come up short.
Jayvon O'Quinn led Warren-Alvarado-Oslo with 26 points, while Danny Schmidt added 12 points.
"You couldn't ask for a better start," said Pirate head coach Greg Garmen. "We defended well, O'Quinn had just five in the first half so we kept him in check. He got away from us in the second half. I think that was the biggest difference in the second half. We took care of the ball in the first half with four turnovers but had 12 in the second half."
Hollcraft was 10 of 11 at the free throw line.
"Aaron needs to get to the line more often," said Garmen. "He got into a rhythm and knocked them down. He can score."
Seniors Alex Boone and Alec Boike and sophomore Ryan Porter each scored ten points. Boone had all of his ten in the first half, while Boike scored eight of his ten in the second half. Porter had eight of his ten in the first half.
"Ryan has been making his case for cracking the lineup," Garmen said. "We either go with four perimeter-type kids or two posts and yesterday we went with four perimeter-type kids. That gives us a little more speed and keeps Alec and Michael (Hefta) a little more fresher. We'll see if it can work again today."
Crookston improves to 4-3 on the season and will face Northern Freeze, who beat Clearbrook/Gonvick Thursday 81-48, in the semifinals today at 6 p.m.
"I know they have two big kids, both of them are 6-foot-6," Garmen said of the 6-0 Northern Freeze. "After that they are like everyone else around here, short and athletic and can shoot it. We've handled pressure pretty well up to this point."
Northwest Russ Smith Holiday Classic scores
Thursday, Dec. 27
Crookston def. Warren-Alvarado-Oslo, 60-55
Northern Freeze def. Clearbrook/Gonvick, 81-48
Red Lake def. Kittson County Central, 72-64
Thief River Falls def. Sacred Heart, 77-41
Friday, Dec. 28
Sacred Heart vs. Kittson County Central, 2:15 p.m.
Clearbrook/Gonvick vs. Warren-Alvarado-Oslo, 4 p.m.
Crookston vs. Northern Freeze, 6 p.m.
Red Lake vs. Thief River Falls, 7:45 p.m.
Saturday, Dec. 29
Seventh place game, 2:15 p.m.
Fifth place game, 4 p.m.
Third place game, 6 p.m.
Championship, 7:45 p.m.