The season came to an end for the Pirates in the Section Quarterfinals.
MOORHEAD - The Pirates led for nearly nine minutes in the first half against the Breckenridge Cowboys in the section quarterfinals. Once the second half began, the Cowboys drained nine threes to put distance between themselves and Crookston and won 83-58.
“It was the same type of game I felt as when we played them in December,” Head Coach Greg Garmen said. “We played really well and then they shot really well in the second half. We were banking on them missing a shot or two and credit them for shooting. We tried to make them shoot from the outside, they did and they hit them.”
Crookston sent off their senior class on a positive note with each one recording points. Senior guard Todd Boerger scored 20 and senior center Carter Winand scored two as well as senior forwards Jackson Seibel and Jared Theis.
Sophomore center Caden Osborn put up 13 and junior forward Jaden Lubarski contributed 12. Junior forward Nick Garmen added seven.
The game began with Breckenridge in control owning a 15-9 lead. On the ensuing possession, Boerger took the ball coast to coast and scored to stop a 6-0 run.
Osborn continued the run with the Pirates’ first three of the game to cut the deficit to 15-14. Boerger and Garmen followed suit with treys of their own and the Pirates completed an 11-0 run to lead 20-15.
After a basket by Breckenridge, Boerger and Lubarski scored on back-to-back possessions for a 24-17 lead, the largest Pirate lead of the night.
Garmen was especially pleased with Lubarski’s ability to drive to the basket.
“He was attacking the basket and running in transition,” Garmen said. “After having a tough game against Dilworth, it was good to see him get it going like that.”
Crookston managed to hold their lead with baskets by Boerger and Lubarski and free throws by Winand. Osborn scored second-chance points for a 34-32 lead, but the Cowboys scored the last six of the half including a buzzer-beating three. Despite leading for nearly nine minutes, the Pirates went into the locker room down 38-34.
The Cowboys came out after the intermission determined to shoot from long range. Four treys in the first five minutes helped Breckenridge to a 16-8 run and a 54-42 lead.
Breckenridge then continued to attack the rim and improved their run to 36-8 dating back to the first half and led 68-42 with 8:38 to play in the game.
“We didn’t focus much on twos or threes,” Garmen said. “We wanted to keep attacking inside, but it didn’t work out that way. They were tough to get by and we turned it over too many times.”
Boerger ended the scoring drought with a basket and five combined points from Garmen and Osborn put the Pirates down 22 as the clock showed 6:15.
Boerger scored his 20th point of the game with 5:40 left and Lubarski added his 12th to make it 74-54.
With under four minutes to play, Garmen removed his starters to give the substitutes a chance to get some court time.
Seibel tallied his points with a pair of free throws to round out the charity stripe scoring for Crookston. The Pirates finished 11-for-11 from the line.
With under a minute to play, Theis entered the game much to the joy of the student section who had been calling for him the last few minutes. After a few missed three-point attempts, Theis took a pass and drove to the basket for a layup which brought fans of both teams to their feet. The points served as Crookston’s last of the season as the Cowboys won 83-58.
“It’s always good to go out feeling good about yourself,” Garmen said. “We got Jared in, got him the ball and he ended his career with a layup. He figured if he couldn’t hit that three, he better move in, but that was good sportsmanship on everyone’s part.”
The Pirates finished the season with a record of 14-14. Crookston’s roller coaster of a season featured winning streaks of four and three and losing streaks that reached three and five.
“It was up down, up down for almost everybody in the North this year,” Garmen said. “I wasn’t too comfortable going into the Dilworth game, but we came out that game and really responded from losing to them earlier in the year. Then they game out again after one day and gave a whale of a first half, but just couldn’t keep them at bay in the second half.”