Three different Pirates put up double digit points and Crookston beat Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton 67-56.
In a new win-or-go-home scenario where victories and defeats of the regular season carry zero weight, the Crookston Pirates controlled the pace of Thursday night’s section tournament game and won 67-56 over Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton. The Pirates kicked off the game with an 8-0 run and never trailed throughout the entire contest.
The win in the first round of the postseason sends Crookston to Concordia on Saturday where they will play in the section quarterfinals.
Sophomore center Caden Osborn played a pivotal role for Crookston, especially in the paint. Osborn put up 19 points with four of them coming in the Pirates’ initial 8-0 run. Senior center Carter Winand totaled 18 on the night to reach over 400 season points and Todd Boerger scored 17 to round out the double digit scorers.
Junior forward Blake Fee came off the bench and contributed eight while junior forward Nick Garmen hit a three and Jaden Lubarski added two points.
The Pirates’ strategy was apparent from the beginning: get the ball to Osborn under the rim. Five minutes into the game, DGF had not put the ball through the hoop yet and the Pirates led 8-0.
“I thought we defended and boarded well,” Head Coach Greg Garmen said. “We wanted to come out and have a good start. That was written on our board in our locker room. We made some shots and got Caden going inside.”
Winand and Fee each hit a pair of free throws to give Crookston a 12-5 lead after DGF tallied their first points of the game. Leading 14-10, Winand drove to the rim, got the bucket and the foul. One free throw later, the Pirates were shooting a perfect five-for-five from the line and led 17-10.
DGF struggled at the beginning of the game to make any kind of shots which allowed the Pirates to guard attacks to the rim more and force outside shots in hopes of getting a rebound.
“We got told to lay off a little and let them shoot,” Osborn said. “We did that and just got the rebounds. It was that simple.”
Garmen commended his team on their ability to grab the defensive rebounds with DGF shooting as often as they were.
“They beat us down the lane about fifteen times when we played there in December,” Garmen said. “That led to their 25 twos they had. So we didn’t want to get beat to the basket. We did a nice job of avoiding giving them too many easy buckets. We got some boards that we maybe wouldn’t have earlier in the year. They were more focused and determined today to go find boards.”
Boerger made his presence known scoring the next and final eight points of the half for Crookston including their first two treys of the contest. After Boerger’s second long-range score, the Pirates led 25-17 with 1:41 to play in the first half. DGF took advantage of trips to the charity stripe as well as a few Crookston turnovers and finished the half on a 7-0 run to only trail 25-24 by the end of the first half.
“We had to stop turning the ball over,” Osborn said. “It just came down to tough defense and finding guys on the outside.”
Winand and Boerger combined for the Pirates first nine points to start the second half. A trey by Winand instilled excitement in the Crookston student-heavy crowd and the Pirates grabbed a 34-28 lead. Osborn muscled a ball in and Nick Garmen joined the action scoring his first points of the game with a three to increase the lead to 39-30, Crookston’s largest lead of the night so far.
After a DGF three-pointer to end the Pirates’ surge, Boerger converted on his third trey of the evening to put the lead back to nine with 13:17 to play. Crookston kept DGF at least two possessions away with free throws by Winand and layups by Fee and Osborn.
Down 51-43, DGF scored five straight points to make it a one possession game for the first time since the beginning of the second half. A free throw by Osborn and back-to-back buckets by Fee countered the DGF attack with five points and with three minutes to play, Crookston led 56-48.
DGF cut the lead to 56-50, but the Pirates stuck with their strategy of attacking the rim. Doing so contributed to Osborn scoring the next six points of the game to put some serious distance between Crookston and DGF with a 62-50 lead and only 1:53 remaining.
“[Caden’s] got very good, strong hands,” Garmen said. “He finishes for us and we need that. He’s really shown that he belongs and he’s a boost to our squad.”
The Pirates managed to close out the game with two more points by Osborn and two free throws by Boerger to ice the game with a 67-56 win.
The next task for the Pirates: taking on No. 2 Breckenridge at Concordia on Saturday, March 10. When the teams last played in December, Breckenridge defeated Crookston 77-46. To Osborn, it is a new game and he will go into the contest with confidence.
“I expect to win and I want to win,” Osborn said. “Simple as that.”
Tip-off is at 7:30 p.m.