Hayden Winjum led the team in points with 10.

    The Crookston Pirates scored their second-lowest amount of the season, but they won anyway. With the help of eight different scorers and timely defense, the Pirates held the Barnesville Trojans (4-4) to nine first-half points and closed out a 35-27 win to improve to 6-1.

    “Both teams played really good defense,” Head Coach Darin Zimmerman said. “I thought we left some points at the rim. We did a nice job of driving in and just didn’t convert on some. I thought we probably left 10 shots right at the rim that would’ve made a big difference for us.”

    Hayden Winjum (Fr. G) scored 10 to lead the team and Dani Boyle (Jr. G) finished right behind at eight. Emma Borowicz (So. G) tallied six, Rachel Hefta (Sr. F) added three and Emma Boll (So. F), Kylie Solheim (Sr. G), Kasey Cwikla (Jr. G) and Gretchen Theis (Jr. G) each recorded two.

    The Pirates did not allow a double digit scorer on the Trojans' side. Elora Passa led Barnesville with eight points.

    “I think other players really stepped up and played really well especially on the defensive end,” Zimmerman said. “The offensive schemes we have doesn’t necessarily feature a certain player. All of our girls are pretty skilled so they have the opportunity to score. I don’t think anybody’s afraid to shoot and when our defense plays well, we get multiple people involved that way too.”

    The Pirates went into the intermission ahead 19-9 using two three-pointers from Boyle and one from Winjum to account for nearly half the points.

    Barnesville used second-chance points to outscore Crookston in the second half 18-16. Although the Trojans reached double bonus, they only converted on 11-of-19 free throws.

    Solheim fouled out for the Pirates and Borowicz reached four personal fouls, but the Pirates used tight defense to force turnovers and put distance between themselves and the Trojans.

    “We got a layup and then a couple possessions later, [Barnesville] tried a skip pass and we stole it for a layup and created a little separation,” Zimmerman said. “We didn’t turn the ball over and Barnesville had to force up some shots and they couldn’t make much.”

    Crookston came into the game averaging 57.3 points per game, but only reached the 30s for the second time this season. The first came in a 55-33 loss to East Grand Forks. With the win, the Pirates improved their road record to 3-0.

    Still unbeaten away from the confines of Crookston's gym, Zimmerman commended his team for playing fundamental basketball when it mattered most in an unfavorable environment.

    “Barnesville can be a tough place to play,” Zimmerman said. “The fact that we were able to hold our composure and really play well in the closing minutes spoke really well to the maturity and the poise we play with.”

    The Pirates now return home for a matchup with the Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton Rebels on Thursday, December 20 at 7:30 p.m.

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For feedback or questions, contact the Times at (218) 281-2730, Nolan Beilstein at (940) 372-8175 or by email at nbeilstein@crookstontimes.com.