Pirate senior Kylie Simmons hit a clutch three pointer with 45 seconds left in regulation Friday evening at Bemidji State to send the Section 8AA championship game between Crookston and Pelican Rapids into overtime tied 50-50, but the Vikings jumped out to a lead in the extra session and hung on 61-56 to advance to the State Class AA Tournament.
Crookston's season ends at 21-6.
Pelican Rapids was a split second away from winning it in regulation but the final shot wasn't released in time. As the referees called it no good, the Pirate fans erupted.
"It was a great game," said Pirate head coach Lon Boike afterward. "Kylie's three down the stretch was huge. It was a good call at the end. She made the shot but the buzzer definitely sounded before."
The Vikings had just one field goal in overtime but made 9-of-12 free throws and never trailed.
"They didn't miss many free throws," coach Boike said. "In overtime they got out to a lead and it was tough to play catch up. They took care of the ball to their credit. They are a small but strong and feisty team."
Sophomores Sydney Boike and Brooke Heggie each had 14 points to lead Crookston. Sophomore Kenzie Klatt added 11 points, while Simmons scored eight and senior Taylor Demarais had five.
Mackenzie Korf led Pelican Rapids with 12 points, while Sommer Haugrud and Lincoln Haiby each added 11 and Kendra Weinrich scored ten.
The Pirates overcame a 16-6 deficit to start the game and took a 27-22 lead into halftime. The Vikings outscored the Pirates 28-23 in the second half and 11-6 in overtime.
The Pirates say goodbye to five key seniors in Demarais, Simmons, Erica Samuelson, Kaylee Desrosier and Katie Davidson.
"It's hard to say goodbye to those seniors," coach Boike said. "Those sophomores are crying for those seniors. They wanted to get there for them. You work so hard and put in so much time. It takes so much time to get here. It's never easy when a season ends."
The game started with Pelican Rapids jumping out to a 16-6 lead with 10:17 left in the first half.
Crookston responded with a 7-0 run, which was started by a Boike three.
After the teams traded threes, the Pirates finished the half with an 11-3 run in the final five minutes to take a 27-22 lead into halftime. The run featured threes from Demarais, Klatt and Simmons.
After the Pirates extended their lead to nine points early in the second half, the Vikings went on a 14-4 run over about a five-minute span to go up 38-37 with 9:22 remaining.
Klatt then knocked down a three and added a bucket in less than 30 seconds before the teams traded threes again, but Pelican Rapids outscored Crookston 9-2 in the next five minutes to take a 50-47 lead into the final minute of play.
Simmons, however, came up big for the Pirates, nailing a three with 45 seconds left on the clock.
Pelican Rapids then ran down the time and made a bucket at the end but the referees quickly ruled it was released after the buzzer.
In the four-minute overtime session, Pelican Rapids scored the first five points and never looked back. It recorded just one field goal in overtime but made its free throws. Heggie had all six of Crookston's overtime points.
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