HAWLEY — It turned out to be the Pirates' largest loss of the year.
In reality, it was much closer than the score indicated.
Crookston girls' basketball fell to Hawley, 62-46, on Tuesday night, as the Nuggets clamped down defensively and nailed their free throws, outscoring the Pirates 14-3 down the stretch.
"They brought the intensity tonight," said Halle Winjum (8, G). "We had it for most of the night, but not as long as they did."
Crookston fell to 18-5 overall and 10-5 in Section 8AA play, while Hawley improved to 17-5 and 12-4. The Nuggets won their second game over the Pirates this year, the first being a 59-54 win in the Fergus Falls Tournament on Dec. 27.
"I don't think we played bad in that first game, nor do I think that we didn't play hard," said coach Darin Zimmerman. "But I thought I saw more consistent effort (tonight)."
Crookston took a 5-3 lead in the opening minutes, but it would prove to be its last. Hawley scored seven straight points, and built the lead up to 25-15 with five minutes to go in the half.
After a Pirate timeout at that point, Abby Borowicz (Fr., G), Winjum and Dani Boyle (Sr., G) made threes on successive trips down the court, but the Nuggets still went into halftime leading 31-24.
Three-point shooting continued to keep Crookston in the game. Boyle scored eight points, including two 3-pointers, as the Pirates a 12-point lead to two midway through the second half.
"I think we did a good job stretching the floor," Zimmerman said. "We shot the ball really well from the 3-point line, which was really nice, but had to be a little bit tougher in the paint."
Ultimately, fouls started to rack up for Crookston, while Hawley stiffened up on defense down the stretch to seal the victory.
Halle Winjum scored 15 points, while Boyle scored 11. Kasey Cwikla (Sr., F) scored 10, Hayden Winjum (So., G) scored five and Borowicz scored four.
For Hawley, Paige Thompson led the way with 20 points, Kaylie Crabtree scored 15, Anna Steer and Kylie Crabtree both had 11, Alex Eilertson scored three and Abigail Rux scored two.
"We gotta make more plays," Zimmerman said. "Just came down to it, a lot of it was defense, not making enough stops, losing track of some of their good players. They did a very good job on the baseline and drove too much on the baseline tonight. ... They made some shots, they're a good free throw shooting team, and we put them at the line a few too many times."
UP NEXT: Crookston is at Barnesville (11-11, 7-8) this Thursday. The Pirates beat the Trojans, 56-27, at home on Dec. 17.
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