Sophomore Aaron Hollcraft posted a game-high 22 points to lead the No. 3 seeded Pirates, who drained 11 threes in the game, to a 70-62 win over No. 6 Bagley Thursday in the Section 8AA first round in Crookston.
The Pirates (12-14) lost 58-52 to Bagley (10-17) on the road on Dec. 18.
"We lost to them earlier in the season and there was revenge to be done," Hollcraft said after the game. "This was a playoff game and I was very pumped."
Pirate head coach Greg Garmen was impressed with Hollcraft's play.
"We needed Aaron to be aggressive," he said. "He boarded well. And he's only a sophomore."
The victory snapped a four-game losing streak for Crookston at the most opportune time. The Pirates will now travel to Bemidji on Saturday to face No. 2 Warroad at 2:45 p.m. in the quarterfinals. The Pirates and Warriors split the two games they played this season.
"We have to hit our shots," Hollcraft said of facing Warroad. "All we have to do is hit our shots. We were ice cold when we played them last."
Coach Garmen noted little has changed since his squad defeated Warroad in the first round of the section tournament last season in Warroad.
"We played them three times last year and this will be our third meeting this year," he explained. "The only real difference is both teams are missing Rosses (Crookston's Ross Forney and Warroad's Ross Merriman). In northwest Minnesota, any team can beat any other team on any given night."
Following up Hollcraft's big night was senior Alex Boone and sophomore Ryan Porter each scoring 11 points. Senior Travis Vatthauer added ten points to the mix, while junior Michael Hefta put up nine points, senior Alec Boike had four and sophomore Seth Desrosier added three.
"We got after them up front and in the press and they didn't like that much," coach Garmen said. "We got a few turnovers off that. We have four guys that shoot well and Booner got us started tonight. And then Travis, Aaron and Ryan got going. Everybody knows where Ryan hangs out in his corner. We were waiting for him to get hot. He usually has to hit one early to get going. He kept on shooting and we needed him to do that."
Luke Thompson led the Flyers with 18 points, while Marcus Malterud added 17 and Jordan Loiland had ten points.
Page 2 of 2 - Bagley jumped out to a 15-4 lead in the opening minutes before Crookston came alive with a 13-0 run to take a 17-15 lead with 7:16 remaining in the first half. Boone started the five-minute run with a three and a basket, and Hefta capped it with back-to-back buckets.
Bagley had runs of 6-0 and 7-0 in the remaining minutes to take a 30-28 lead into halftime.
The Pirates really found their long-range shooting in the second half, hitting a trio of threes in a minute span by Boone, Hollcraft and Vatthauer to take a 46-40 lead with 12:30 left.
Then, Porter and Vatthauer knocked down back-to-back threes with 7:16 left to take a 54-46 lead.
Crookston then held on to its lead as Hollcraft nailed 7-of-8 free throws in the final minute.
Thompson drained a half-court shot at the buzzer but it was too little, too late.
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