The Pirates lose their seventh straight and drop to 11-10, 5-6 Section 8AA.
BEMIDJI - Macy Flatness (So. F) and Lindsey Hildenbrand (Jr. G) each finished with 15 points, Bemidji outscored Crookston 34-23 in the second half and the Lumberjacks continued the Pirates' losing streak with a 63-47 win.
Crookston's skid moves to seven losses in a row and eight in their last nine. In this stretch, the Pirates (11-10, 5-6 Section 8AA) have been exposed to teams with a combined record of 129-47. Four of those teams rank in their respective class' top 20 for QRF.
“We certainly had our chances even though the score ended up double figures,” Pirates Head Coach Darin Zimmerman said. “We had every opportunity, just needed to finish some possessions. I thought we were really aggressive with our offense and did a good job getting to the foul line, but we were only 11-for-26. That cost us a lot of points today.”
Macy Flatness and Hildenbrand totaled six of Bemidji's 10 three-pointers on the afternoon, four of which occurred in the second half. Mackenzie Nicklason (Sr. G) added 10 points for the Lumberjacks (13-9, 4-3 Section 8AAA), Katie Alto (Jr. G) contributed eight, Rylie Jones (So. F) put up six, Rumer Flatness (Sr. G) finished with five and Ashley Hofstad (Jr. G) rounded out the list with three.
The Pirates converted on only a pair of treys, their lowest since January 12 when they lost to Hibbing 46-30.
Rachel Hefta (Sr. F) highlighted Crookston's side with 11 points, her sixth time in the double digits this season. Hayden Winjum (Fr. G) and Kasey Cwikla (Jr. G) each tallied nine, Emma Borowicz (So. G) notched seven, Kylie Solheim (Sr. G) scored six, Emma Boll (So. F) and Dani Boyle (Jr. G) each produced two and Halle Winjum (Seventh Grade G) made a free throw.
Bemidji hit 13 of their 20 attempts (65 percent) from the free throw line, and Crookston went 11-for-26 (42.3 percent).
“The one thing that we didn’t do as well today that we had previously was shoot from the outside,” Zimmerman said. “We just didn’t shoot quite as well from mid-range and beyond the three-point line, and that would’ve been helpful. With that being said, we did a good enough job getting the ball inside, we just missed some shots around the rim.”
All of the Pirates who scored did so in the opening half. Cwikla hit three field goals and two free throws for a team-high eight points, and Hefta provided seven.
Over the course of the half, the Lumberjacks made five three-pointers by four different players to Crookston's zero. Two came from Hildenbrand, who scored nine in the opening half.
Despite the difference in production behind the arc, the Pirates only trailed 29-24 at the half.
Crookston came out of the intermission with a powerful offense and took the lead four minutes into the second half.
The Pirates' defense held Bemidji in multiple possessions, but passed on chances to extend their lead with missed shots under the rim or at the line.
Kept alive by miscues, the Lumberjacks worked their way back to a double digit lead behind three treys from Macy Flatness.
“The unfortunate thing is, that was right after we took control of the second half,” Zimmerman said. “We came out, played well, got stops and took the lead. Then we weren’t making shots on offense, and that’s when [Bemidji] hit three or four threes to give them a double digit lead.”
The oscillating second half continued, and Crookston worked their way to down five with less that nine minutes to play. The Pirates earned a steal, but did not finish the layup on the other end, Bemidji took the rebound and scored. Rather than trailing by three, seven points sat between the Pirates and the Lumberjacks.
Bemidji held off Crookston the rest of the way for the 63-47 win. The defeat served as the third time the Pirates fell by 10 or more points in their losing streak. The other four came by an average of 5.5 points.
“The kids are frustrated, they’re playing hard and they’re getting better every day,” Zimmerman said. “I can see it, and they can see it. It’s just a matter of continuing to stay that course, trust the process and the results will take care of themselves. We just have to put that full game together.”
Crookston returns home on Tuesday, February 12 for a matchup with a Section 8AA opponent, the Hawley Nuggets. Tip-off is set for 7:30 p.m.
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