After loss to Hawley, they rebound with win over Coon Rapids

    Crookston girls’ basketball competed at the Fergus Falls Holiday Classic on Dec. 27 and Dec. 28, going 1-1 on the weekend with a 59-54 loss to Hawley and a 74-69 win over Coon Rapids.

    With their third-place finish at the tournament, the Pirates ran their record to 8-2 this season.

    Crookston is off to its best start in 13 years, but its unbeaten stretch to open the season ended on Dec. 19 in a loss at powerhouse Roseau, the five-time defending Section 8AA champion.

    “We competed well in Roseau, we just had to play a more complete game. We emphasized that going into the tournament,” said Pirates head coach Darin Zimmerman. “We learned a lot from (Roseau) and were disappointed by the result but got better for it.”

    The competition didn’t get any easier in Fergus Falls, as alongside Hawley and Coon Rapids, the tournament included the host Otters — new to Section 8AA — who came in at 7-1.

    Crookston was denied an opportunity to take on Fergus Falls, however. The Nuggets and Pirates played a back-and-forth game on Friday, with Hawley ahead by two at halftime and the game tied with under two minutes to play.

    The Nuggets held Crookston scoreless down the stretch to ice the game and send the Pirates to the third-place game.

    Emma Borowicz (Jr., G) scored 16 points against Hawley, while Hayden Winjum (So., G) added 13 and Gretchen Theis (Sr., G) had 11. Dani Boyle (Sr., G) chipped in with seven.

    “We probably didn’t play our best basketball,” Zimmerman said, “but we were still right there.”

    Crookston rebounded against Coon Rapids, winning a game of runs. The Pirates jumped to a 12-3 lead and went into halftime up 43-34, and came out of the locker room by scoring the first 10 points of the second half.

    The Cardinals didn’t quit, scraping back into the game after being down 70-54, but Crookston held on in the end thanks to 26 points from Borowicz and 11 points from Boyle.

    Theis, Hayden Winjum, Halle Winjum and Cwikla all had seven.

    Borowicz was named to the all-tournament team after averaging 21 points in the two games.

    “Emma was solid in the Fergus tournament,” Zimmerman said. “She played two great games. She was a difference maker and found ways to help us in all facets.”

    Despite a 1-1 showing in Fergus Falls, Zimmerman felt that this weekend confirmed the Pirates’ belief that they were as good as their 7-0 start.

    However, he understands improvements are necessary if Crookston wants to catch teams like Roseau and Fergus Falls at the top of the section.

    “The competition this week was good,” Zimmerman said. “We got better from it and it will help us.”

    UP NEXT: Crookston will travel to Bagley on Friday, Jan. 3 at 7:30 p.m. The Flyers are winless in eight games this season.