Sub-Section 8AA North champion Crookston will now face Sub-Section 8AA South champion Pelican Rapids, the No. 3 seed in the South, Friday night at Bemidji State.
In the infamous words of sportscaster Jack Buck, "And we'll see you tomorrow night."
More like Friday night, though, as the top-seeded Pirates defeated No. 2 Pequot Lakes 76-67 Tuesday evening at John S. Glas Fieldhouse at Bemidji State thanks to a game-high 19 points from sophomore center Brooke Heggie.
Sub-Section 8AA North champion Crookston will now face Sub-Section 8AA South champion Pelican Rapids, the No. 3 seed in the South, Friday night at Bemidji State. Tip off is set for 7 p.m. with a trip to the State Tournament on the line.
"We are playing good defense right now," Heggie said after the game. "It was a very physical game. I was proud of myself and the team. On Friday we need to go out and play as a team, play strong and don't give up."
Pirate head coach Lon Boike was relieved the get the win over the two-time defending section champion Patriots.
"This was a big game for us," he said afterward. "I am so proud of this team. Our goal was to keep them in the 50s. We thought if we could hold them off we would be right there. Pequot Lakes is the type of team that likes to shoot. Defensively we were just good enough.
"In the second half we struggled breaking their press," Boike continued. "Sydney was 8 for 8 at the free throw line down the stretch and Brooke had some big buckets throughout the game. Those two were both huge."
Adding to Heggie's big night was sophomore Sydney Boike posting 17 points. Sophomore Danica Brekken scored 12, ten in the first half, and senior Kylie Simmons hit three first-half three pointers and finished with 11 points, all in the first half. Sophomore Kenzie Klatt chipped in eight points, six in the first half, and sophomore Amber Froeber recorded five.
Simmons is feeling confident about her shooting, "When I get it I shoot it," she said. "When it happens it happens. We need to play as a team on Friday."
Vanessa Lane led Pequot Lakes with 15 points, while Kayla Miller had 14. Katie White, Brittny Bzdok and Jessica Kreitz each added 12 points.
"They were knocking down shots," Boike said of the Patriots. "White had just one point in the second half. We had good defense and rebounded well. They didn't have many second chance points."
Heggie went down in pain about a minute into the game after fighting for a rebound and taking a blow just below the neck. She returned after about two and a half minutes and posted 13 crucial points in the second half.
In the first half with Pequot Lakes up 14-12, Simmons hit her first three pointer and started a 19-2 run over about three and a half minutes. Simmons closed the run with another three and a bucket. Brekken added two threes and Klatt dropped a trey in the key run that forced the Patriots to call a timeout with five minutes left, trailing 30-16.
Pequot Lakes responded with an 11-2 run over a two-minute stretch to cut the deficit to 32-27 but the Pirates finished the half with back-to-back threes from Klatt and Simmons to take a 38-27 lead into halftime.
"Going into the locker room up 11, that was huge," Boike said of the back-to-back threes.
The Patriots started the second half on a 9-4 run to cut the deficit to 42-36 in the first few minutes.
Crookston stretched its lead with an 11-2 run at the midway point of the half, taking a 61-44 lead. The run was kick started by a three from Boike and included three buckets from Heggie.
The Pirates didn't record a field goal in the final six and a half minutes but knocked down its free throws to seal the victory. Boike hit 8-of-8 free throws in the final minute and a half.
Pequot Lakes went on a 14-2 run in a four and half minute span and trimmed Crookston's lead with 69-63 with 52 seconds left.
The winner of Section 8AA will face the winner of Section 2AA in the first round of the State Tournament Wednesday, March 13 at Williams Arena on the University of Minnesota campus.
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