No Crookston team in recent memory has entered a postseason with as much promise and excitement as the Pirate girls' basketball squad, which begins its playoff run as the top seed in Section 8AA North Saturday against Warroad at Bemidji State.
The Pirates are 19-5 on the season and an impressive 7-1 against section opponents. The lone loss came in Crookston against Hawley Feb. 2 by the score of 40-37.
Crookston is No. 8 in the Class AA QRF rankings and ranked No. 18 in Class AA by MInnesota Basketball News in the final regular season poll.
"It's been a fun, successful basketball season," Pirate senior point guard Taylor Demarais told the Times. "Expectations are always high being the No. 1 seed but we have to keep working hard together as a team and take it one game at a time and the rest should take care of itself."
Pirate sophomore guard Sydney Boike is also eager to get the playoffs underway.
"We are so excited!" she said. "I always hear from people, 'We can't wait to watch you all play at state!' and 'Are you excited for the state tourney?' It's great to hear, but you have to take one game at a time, and play every game like it's your last. Out of everyone, I'd say our team has the highest expectations and goals for ourselves, and we have been working harder than ever to fulfill them. We're going to make this season one to remember!"
Demarais, Boike and the rest of the Pirates remember all too well the tough three-point loss last season in the section quarterfinals to Pequot Lakes at Bemidji State. Pequot Lakes went on to win the section championship and place fourth at state.
"It seems like just yesterday because I still have that loss in my head," Demarais said. "It was especially hard because I knew the next time we were back to playoffs it would be my last time."
Boike still feels that loss too.
"That game may be far behind us, but the memory is still fresh for us," she said. "I think we'll use that feeling to fuel our energy for the games ahead, and have that much more motivation and intensity to win."
The Pirates, who face Warroad Saturday, a team they beat by 20 points earlier this season, enter the postseason with ten players playing in 20 games or more.
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