Crookston moves to 5-1 with the victory.

THIEF RIVER FALLS - Emma Borowicz (So. G) recorded her fourth double-digit scoring game, Gretchen Theis provided a spark off the bench with 14 points and the Crookston Pirates kept their perfect road record intact with a 59-36 win over the Thief River Falls Prowlers.

    After Borowicz and Theis, Kylie Solheim (Sr. G) put up six, Dani Boyle (Jr. G) scored five, Hayden Winjum (Fr. G) added four along with Kasey Cwikla (Jr. G) and Rachel Hefta (Sr. F) and Jenna Coauette (Fr. G) contributed two apiece.

    Theis' 14 points served as the most by a Pirates bench player in a single game this season. Theis also leads the Pirates' bench in points on the year with 40, but credits her teammates for her big night.

    “A lot of it is just knowing that my team is there for me,” Theis said. “They’re going to back me up and they’re going to help me get shots off just as I would do for them. I got my feet under me early in the game and that helped out a lot.”

    The Prowlers enjoyed a 5-2 advantage which featured a three-pointer, but a couple layups from Borowicz and Hefta gave Crookston their first lead ahead 6-5. Theis continued the run off the bench driving to the rim for a layup and Borowicz added more points in the paint for a 10-5 lead with 11:47 to go.

    Boyle contributed the next four points including a layup and two free throws to cap off a 12-0 run and helped the Pirates to a 14-5 lead. Thief River Falls ended the surge with a couple free throws, but Crookston responded with a jumper from Borowicz and a long two by Solheim to make the score 18-7.

    The Pirates made only one three in the first half, but it was not for a lack of trying. In addition to struggling from behind the arc, Crookston converted on only 9-of-15 free throws in the first half and 14-of-27 in the game.

    “We started to drive more and tried to kick [the ball] out or just get their defense to fall in so we could try and get a couple more [three-pointers] off,” Theis said on finding ways to score.

    One Pirates player who found success from three-point range was Theis who continued to provide a hot hand off the bench with another bucket and knocked down Crookston’s only trey of the half.

    Head Coach Darin Zimmerman commended the junior on being ready to play when called upon.

    “Gretchen’s just a good basketball player,” Zimmerman said. “I think if she were to start, she’d have that type of mentality too. She’s ready to go when she comes in the game, she can shoot the ball really well, she’s got long arms and she also has a very good defensive game.”

    The Pirates scored seven points in the final six minutes of the first half, held the Prowlers to four and went into the locker room ahead 32-14.

    Winjum began the second-half scoring with a layup, her first points of the game, and later, added another to increase the Pirates’ lead to 37-17 with 14:41 to play.

    Cwikla hit a jumper and Theis kept pace with the starters adding another bucket for a 41-22 lead. Scoring the next four Pirate points, Borowicz stole a pass, turned it into a layup and later made the score 45-27 on a basket while fouled.

    Theis hit the team’s second trey of the day and Borowicz contributed two more points on a layup to grab a 23-point lead at 50-27, Crookston’s largest of the night.

    The teams traded baskets the rest of the way and the Pirates closed out a 59-36 win despite Borowicz dealing with four fouls, Winjum's scoreless first half, the team shooting 51 percent from the line and only sinking a trio of three-pointers.

    “I just think it speaks to the multiple kids who can score,” Zimmerman said. “Obviously, when Gretchen and Emma have really good games offensively, that helps. I think we have multiple weapons and that’s the nice thing about our team. Sometimes you’re just not going to shoot the ball as well and if you don’t, there’s other kids who can step up and play.”

    At 5-1, Crookston's win over the Prowlers became their second over a team that beat them a year ago, Sacred Heart being the first. At this point last season, Crookston owned a 3-3 record. The stingy Pirate defense also improved allowing 38.1 points per game this year compared to 45.5 through six games in 2017. 

    The Pirates stay on the road for their next game against Barnesville on Tuesday, December 18. Tip-off is set for 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.