Nick Garmen led the team with 22 points in the win.

    Crookston hosted the Warren-Alvarado-Oslo Ponies at Lysaker Gymnasium on the University of Minnesota Crookston campus for a Winter Solstice matchup. Crookston led by eight at halftime and held the Ponies to 19 points in the latter half for a 68-47 win.    

    Nick Garmen (Sr. F) led the Pirates (3-3) with 22 points followed by Caden Osborn (Jr. C) who tallied 15. Josh Bernia (Jr. G) reached eight on the night, Jack Garmen (Fr. F) and Jaden Lubarski (Sr. F) each totaled six, Walker Winjum (Jr. G) contributed five, Brady Butt (Jr. F) scored three, Carter Bruggeman (So. F) hit two and Chris Kazmierczak (Sr. G) knocked down a free throw.

    The Pirates allowed only Brandon Miller (Jr. G) of WAO (0-6) to reach double digits scoring 10.

    The Ponies kept the first half within reach with 1:30 to go down 31-26. Garmen hit a three-pointer to go up by eight, added a pair of free throws in the final minute and Crookston went into the half owning a 36-28 lead.

    “[WAO] was hitting some shots early and we didn’t do a very good job guarding,” Head Coach Greg Garmen said. “We got loose and got out of our zone and that seemed to help us keep them from hitting threes.”

    Hunter Steer (Fr. F) completed a three-point play for the Ponies to start the second half and WAO trailed 36-31. After a basket from Osborn, Steer made it a five-point game at 38-33, but Lubarski, Bernia and Osborn combined for a 7-0 run to lead 45-35 with 14:30 to play.

    Garmen and Osborn took part in two three-point plays and increased the lead to 56-39 as part of an 11-4 run. Looking to remove all doubt, the Pirates found success hitting threes from the corner. Bernia knocked down a trey and Winjum did the same a minute later at 5:19 remaining to move the score to 62-41.

    “We tried to get guys in the corner, but our kids don’t like to go to the corner ironically enough,” Garmen said. “We tell them to get there and spread the floor out. Jack made a couple from the corner, Bernia hit a couple from the corner and I think Walker hit from the corner. It’s good to see different kids shooting. It’s only going to help us as we get more developed.”

    Both teams added six more to their total in the final five minutes and the Pirates celebrated a 68-47 victory.

    A major improvement Garmen noted from the previous two games came in the form of less fouls. 

    “We did a good job both halves of trying to not foul so much,” Garmen said. “Caden did a better job of keeping his arms up and one time he didn’t and got called right away. Hopefully he learned.”

    After the holiday break, Crookston heads to Roseau on Thursday, December 27. Tip-off is set for 2:30 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.