EAST GRAND FORKS — Emma Borowicz jumped — no, soared — to her left and plucked the ball out of the air. In the blink of an eye, she was off to the races.
The junior guard's layup wasn't only the first basket of the game. It was a message to East Grand Forks, delivered by the Crookston girls' basketball team: the Green Wave were in for a long night.
The Pirates scored the game's first eight points and didn't look back, improving to 5-0 with a 55-21 win at East Grand Forks on Tuesday night.
"We executed well and we held a really good team down defensively," said Crookston head coach Darin Zimmerman. "When you do those things, the scoreboard will probably take care of itself, and it did tonight."
Gretchen Theis (Sr., G) led Crookston with 14 points, while Hayden Winjum (So., G) and Emma Borowicz (Jr., G) added 10 apiece. Kasey Cwikla (Sr., F) worked hard inside to rack up four points and a team-high six rebounds.
"Emma got us going right away with that steal, and everybody fed off that energy," Zimmerman said. "Gretchen had a really good game, Kasey was really good inside for us, shutting down the paint and being a good presence in there. You look at it and all the eight or nine kids that played a lot of minutes, they did some really nice things tonight."
Halle Winjum (8, G) added eight points, while Abby Borowicz (Fr., G), Dani Boyle (Sr., G) and Emma Boll (Jr., G) also got on the scoreboard.
Borowicz had four assists and five steals, as did Boyle, who for most of the night was the spearpoint of the Pirates' full-court press, frustrating the Green Wave with constant movement and arm-waving.
"Our pressure definitely made them struggle a bit," Theis said. "Us putting so much pressure on them made them have to work a lot harder."
Crookston scored its fewest points of the season, thanks largely to an 18-point second half, but it really didn't matter at that point. The Pirates had done most of the work already, leading the Green Wave 37-13 at halftime.
They accomplished it with a defense that was as stifling as usual. East Grand Forks didn't even hit the rim until the game's sixth minute, and for the game, had more turnovers than points.
"Probably the most important thing is we only had six fouls on the first half, and I don't know if we got into the bonus in the second half," Zimmerman said. "We played really smart, but aggressive, defense, and we turned them over and got some transition points off of it."
Their Pirates' defense was such that their normally strong outside game wasn't even needed — Crookston didn't hit a 3-pointer among their 19 field goals. Instead, its full-court pressure forced its usual share of turnovers, turning them into easy layups and 17 free throws, for which the Green Wave had no answer.
UP NEXT: Crookston heads to Thief River Falls to take on the Prowlers (0-5) on Saturday at 5:00 p.m.
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