Jaden Lubarski made the go-ahead free throw with .6 seconds to play and Crookston overcame controversy to beat Bagley.
The Crookston Pirates struggled to make shots, the Bagley Flyers could not convert on opportunities and to top it all off, a scorekeeping mistake nearly cost Crookston the game. Despite all that transpired, Jaden Lubarski (Sr. F) knocked down the go-ahead free throw with .6 seconds left and Crookston beat Bagley 48-47 for the Pirates’ first victory of the season.
Caden Osborn (Jr. C) scored 17 points for the second straight game to lead the Pirates (1-1) and Lubarski tallied 14 including the game-winner. Nick Garmen (Sr. F) notched 11, Walker Winjum (Jr. G) added four, Jack Garmen (Fr. F) put up three and Josh Bernia (Jr. G) rounded out the points with two.
“We tried to miss as many bunnies as we could,” Head Coach Greg Garmen said on his team’s offensive struggles. “We did not have any rhythm and just made a lot of uncharacteristic plays. We probably missed 15 sort of point-blank layups or post moves. That was really the nature of the game.”
Whether it was a defensive battle or a lack of offense, the Pirates completed the first half with an 18-14 lead over the Flyers.
Both teams picked up their play after the intermission and Bagley overcame the halftime deficit to create a back-and-forth contest in the final minutes.
“[There was] a little more tempo and we were trying to match [Bagley], they were scoring at will and we just sort of matched them,” Garmen said. “We had a six-point lead at one time and then everything was two points either way.”
In the final minute, the confusion arrived. The score remained knotted at 47 apiece and possession belonged to the Flyers. In a timeout, the Pirates believed they had committed five fouls in the second half permitting one more before Bagley would shoot free throws.
Garmen instructed his team to play aggressive defense with what they thought was five team fouls. Crookston fouled and after the officials checked their book, it was decided the Pirates’ most recent foul was actually their seventh which created 1-and-1 free throws for Bagley despite Crookston’s stat sheets showing six fouls.
Bagley missed the free throw and Crookston grabbed the rebound and after a last-second shot, Lubarski drew a foul with .6 seconds to play.
In the 1-and-1 opportunity, Lubarski hit the first shot which put the Pirates ahead 48-47. Lubarski missed the second, the Flyers’ desperation heave found nothing and Crookston celebrated their first win of the season.
“There’s a little debate on whether I told him to miss it or he missed it on accident,” Garmen said. “We don’t know, but it was probably a good miss. They couldn’t set it up and throw it deep. We’ll take a win any way we can get it.”
Pleased to get the win, Garmen sees the game as a learning experience for his team.
“They’re sort of finding themselves,” Garmen said. “Kids who haven’t played much varsity are finding out what it’s like. We need to take care of the ball a little better and I hope they understand the value of it now. In a tight game, it can come down to one little thing.”
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