Crookston improves their record to 7-12, 5-8 Section 8AA.
CROOKSTON - Seven different Pirates scored, Caden Osborn (Jr. C) put up 22 points and Crookston took the grudge match against Thief River Falls 70-57.
The Pirates (7-12, 5-8 Section 8AA) flipped the script against the Prowlers (6-13, 4-7 Section 8AA), who beat Crookston by 13 when they met earlier in the season, and downed them by the same margin.
After Osborn’s 22, Walker Winjum (Jr. G) hit four three-pointers en route to 14 points. Nick Garmen (Sr. F) notched 13, Jaden Lubarski (Sr. F) recorded 11, Carter Bruggeman (So. F) totaled four and Chris Kazmierczak (Sr. G) and Jack Garmen (Fr. F) each finished with three.
Thief River Falls played without one of their starters, Storm Manning (Jr. F), who scored 22 against Crookston when the teams first played on December 15, 2018.
Myles Johnson (Sr. G) led the Prowlers’ side with 13, and Gunnar Aune (Jr. G) came close behind with 12 off the bench. Gunner Zutz (Jr. F) tallied 11, Luke Perkovich (Sr. C) contributed eight, Brevyn Lingen (So. G) and Zach Koestner (Sr. F) each scored five, Gavin Hoglo (Jr. F) put up two and Zach Myhrer (Sr. G) made a free throw.
“We kept Lingen in check, he had 18 against us last time, and I thought Walker did an excellent job of finding him all the time,” Pirates Head Coach Greg Garmen said. “He ended with five, and that was probably one of our biggest keys.”
The Prowlers won the two-point range battle outscoring the Pirates 40-32, but Crookston’s 27 points via three-pointers toppled Thief River Falls’ 12.
The two squads traded points for the first six minutes, and the only Pirate offense came from Winjum and Osborn. With 12:23 to play in half number one, Osborn hit a three to match Winjum’s eight points thus far, and Crookston trailed 17-16.
“Kids found Walker being hot early so they got him the ball,” Greg Garmen said. “He was able to hit a few threes and get us going. Caden’s going to do his stuff inside. I thought we moved the ball well, saw kids up the floor and got kids the ball in the right spot.”
After a basket by Johnson, Nick Garmen and Lubarski each joined the scoring group with back-to-back buckets which gave the Pirates a 20-19 lead. Nick Garmen extended the stretch to a 7-0 run with an old-fashion three-point play, and Crookston went ahead 23-19.
The Prowlers used post work from Perkovich and worked the game back to a 25-25 tie with consecutive buckets by the 6’6” senior.
“[Perkovich] hurt us a little bit, but I thought we did a fairly decent job [on him],” Greg Garmen said. “I thought we sort of did it by committee. Everybody was probably a little more active than they have been the last few games.”
With under five minutes in the frame, Carter Bruggeman provided a spark off the bench and converted on four straight points in the paint. Kazmierczak sunk a three for the Pirates’ second 7-0 run of the half, and the two teams went into the locker rooms with Crookston up 32-27 at half.
Nick Garmen’s three-point play to begin the second half made for a promising start. Thief River Fouls countered with an 8-2 run featuring baskets by Johnson and Aune and trailed 37-35.
Jack Garmen created distance knocking down a three, his first points of the game, and Winjum followed suit sinking a trey for a 43-37 advantage.
Crookston continued to attack the basket and spread the ball around which led to buckets by Osborn, Nick Garmen and Lubarski. Osborn built on his successful day and drilled a three with 8:41 to give the Pirates their largest lead thus far at 52-43.
By the time the Pirates led by nine, seven different Crookston players had recorded points.
“[Thief River Falls] was in a 2-3 zone, and we just spread everyone out and got everyone the ball,” Osborn said.
Lingen cut the Prowlers’ deficit to seven trailing 57-50 with 5:23 to go, but Thief River Falls could get no closer, and Crookston pulled away for a 70-57 win.
The victory put an end to a four game losing streak for the Pirates and a stretch of five losses in six games. Crookston also scored 70 points for the first time since they put up 81 in a win over Climax-Fisher on January 25.
“In the QRF, this is a big boost, which is what we’re kind of looking at,” Osborn said. “We were on a four game losing streak before this, so to get a win like this is big.”
The Pirates will look to win consecutive games for the first time since January 15-January 18 when they hit the road for a game against Badger-Greenbush-Middle River on Tuesday, February 12. Tip-off in Greenbush is set for 7:30 p.m.
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