Caden Osborn scored 20 points in the loss.
CROOKSTON - The Crookston Pirates hung around in the shootout as long as they could, but the well-rounded game from Hawley proved to be too much in an 84-62 win for the Nuggets.
For Crookston (3-6), Caden Osborn (Jr. C) put up 20 points to build on his season-best 36 against East Grand Forks a game ago. Nick Garmen (Sr. F) finished close behind with 19, Walker Winjum (Jr. G) and Jaden Lubarski (Jr. F) each scored seven, Josh Bernia (Jr. G) contributed six, Brady Butt (Jr. F) added two and Jonathan Abeld (Sr. F) made a free throw.
Jayden Carlisle (Sr. G) put on a show for the Nuggets (9-1) with 19 points in the second half and 27 overall. Other top scorers featured Noah Glad (Sr. F) and Jacob Vetter (Sr. F) who combined for 28 points with 14 apiece.
The Pirates matched the Nuggets and even led for a decent amount of time in the first half, but the second half belonged to Hawley as they outscored Crookston 42-26 in the frame. This extends the Pirates’ losing streak to three in a row. Crookston has allowed at least 80 points in all three games during the skid and four times this season.
“I thought we played a little better, but still got to shore up defensively,” Head Coach Greg Garmen said. “I thought we were doing alright first half, but second half, they got tired or who knows what. We need to shore up and get a little meaner and we’re not quite there yet.”
The Pirates used long-range shooting to near perfection and converted on seven three-pointers in the first half. The Nuggets put up six points between Glad, Gunnar Lawson (Sr. F) and Chase Liback (Sr. F) to open the game, but the Pirates only needed two Garmen threes to tie it at 6-6.
Hawley regained their lead with Glad and Libak scoring back-to-back, and the Pirates retaliated with treys from Osborn and Garmen to go ahead 12-10 with 13:58 remaining in the first half.
In previous games, the Pirates struggled with fouls, but that was not the case against the Nuggets. Crookston finished with 11 team fouls which allowed them to stick with their starters mixed with timely substitutions. Crookston drew enough fouls to reach bonus in the second half, but finished only 7-for-14 from the charity stripe on the night.
“We’ve been better [with fouls], but still need to stop penetration down the lane and we didn’t do a very good job of that tonight,” Garmen said. “Kids need to buy into it, move their feet more and keep guys out.”
Glad tied the game on the next possession and Libak scored four straight points to put Hawley ahead. Garmen kept firing from behind the arc and cashed in on his third trey for a 17-16 Crookston advantage. Winjum found himself with an open look and drilled his first three of the game, the team’s fifth, and increased the Pirates’ lead to 20-16, their largest of the night, with 10:02 to play.
In the blink of an eye, Hawley tied the game at 20-20 with baskets from Carlisle and Lawson. The Pirates led one last time after an Osborn score, but the Nuggets tied the game two minutes later and went ahead 25-23, the sixth lead change of the game, after a turnover and a bucket by Lawson.
Garmen scored his first points within the arc to knot up the score at 25 apiece with 6:27 to play. Osborn equalized the game again at 29-29 at 5:04, but a three by Karter Kopacek (Sr. G) and a shot by Vetter allowed Hawley to a 34-29 advantage.
Osborn chipped away at the deficit with a pair of free throws, Lubarski added his first points of the game and Bernia made the team’s seventh three of the half to tie the game at 36-36 with 2:05 left.
Carlisle hit his first trey of the contest and after a free throw and a put-back on a missed free throw, the Nuggets went into the locker room ahead 42-36.
“I thought we were playing alright in the first half until the last minute when we turned it over, we fouled them and they got one off a free throw,” Garmen said. “That hurt us going into halftime down six, but we could’ve been down one.”
Winjum scored while fouled to open the second half, but could not complete the three-point play and Hawley went ahead 46-38 with back-to-back baskets by Mason Klevgaard (Sr. G) and Vetter.
Lubarski joined the three parade with his first of the game to make it a five-point contest, but Klevgaard responded with a trey of his own to maintain the eight-point lead at 49-41.
Following Lubarski’s three-pointer, the Pirates went silent from deep. However, Crookston managed to find success using Osborn in the paint with the junior adding nine points in the second half, eight of which were two-point field goals.
”[Caden's] just doing his stuff,” Garmen said. “He had a couple turns because they were double-teaming him. People are going to start doing that on him, so he’s just got to get it and go up without the dribble. He’s making his moves and using his body well. We need him to get 20 [points] and 10 [rebounds] every night.”
With Hawley up 55-43, Garmen earned a bucket and the foul on his way to a three-point play which made the deficit single digits.
The Nuggets limited any Crookston runs in the second half and aside from consecutive points from Osborn and Winjum in a 30-second span, the Pirates could not create any momentum.
“[Hawley] clamped down a little bit,” Garmen said. “They figured out who can shoot and who can’t and were a little tighter on guys. We didn’t get out and push like we needed to. In the first half, we were getting guys out on the wings and in the second half, we didn’t. So we were playing a slower game and we struggled to battle their two bigs inside.”
Unlike the first half, the Nuggets benefited from offensive rebounds which created second chances and ultimately allowed them to put distance between themselves and the Pirates.
Crookston hung around trailing by 10 points until Carlisle decided to take over and score nine points in less than four minutes as part of an 11-3 run to put the game on ice with the Nuggets up 76-56 with only 5:38 to go.
Bernia’s second three-pointer, Osborn’s pair of points and Abeld’s free throw in the final minutes completed Crookston’s scoring as Hawley finished off the 84-62 win.
The Pirates will stay at home for their next game against Fertile-Beltrami on Friday, January 11 at 7:30 p.m.
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