It wasn't as easy as its first two games, but the Crookston girls' basketball team comfortably beat Red Lake Falls, 70-59, on the road Tuesday night.

The Eagles came back from a 37-29 halftime deficit and 19-point second-half deficit to come as close as 66-59 in the final minutes, but Crookston buckled down to close out the game.

"We did a solid job of maintaining a decent lead throughout and handled their pressure at the end," said Pirate head coach Darin Zimmerman. "Playing situational basketball is important, and learning how to do things at the right moment in those scenarios is key."

Just as in its prior contests, Crookston showed off a balanced, free-flowing offense. Gretchen Theis (Sr., G) led the way with 13 points, while Kasey Cwikla (Sr., F) added 11 and Halle Winjum (8, G) scored 10 points.

Hayden Winjum (So., G) had seven points, six steals and six rebounds, while Emma Borowicz (Jr., G) had a solid all-around showing with five points, six rebounds and four steals.

Zimmerman was particularly impressed by the play of Cwikla.

"I thought Kasey Cwikla really battled hard tonight," he said. "(She) did some tough things that helped our team in key moments."

The Pirates improved to 3-0 after blowout victories against Sacred Heart and Win-E-Mac to start the season.

Zimmerman hopes that the tougher challenge posed by Red Lake Falls gave his team a needed boost.

"We play a good schedule, so we needed to get tested to figure out what we need to improve more on," Zimmerman said.

UP NEXT: Crookston heads to Warroad to take on the Warriors at 6:00 p.m. on Friday.

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