Unbeaten East Grand Forks exploded in the second half behind an athletic, stifling defense and 49 points from Julian Benson, beating Crookston boys' basketball 105-71 on Thursday night at Crookston High School.
The Green Wave moved to 7-0, while the Pirates fell to 4-5 and had their three-game winning streak come to an end.
East Grand Forks took a 29-21 lead halfway through the first, but behind Osborn's inside dominance and Jack Garmen's (Jr., G) hot shooting, Crookston kept pace, cutting the lead to two points late in the half.
"We came into this game thinking we could do anything," said Caden Osborn (Sr., C). "We all thought we did really well in the first half keeping with their pace, keeping the ball under control."
The Green Wave, however, scored the last eight points of the first half and began the second half the same way, jetting to a 64-44 lead out of the break.
"We knew we had to be better defensively," said Pirates head coach Greg Garmen. "But they get out and pressure you into a lot of turnovers, which led to easy baskets for them. ... We tried to run a few more things, but they pressured us, and then you have to play with a little more urgency and a little quicker than you're used to or want to."
The Pirates couldn't contend with East Grand Forks' length, as the Green Wave created almost endless turnovers, which led to a steady procession of fast-break layups — the bulk of Benson's behemoth scoring total.
"Second half we turned it over too often," Garmen said. "I really felt that was the difference in the game. We had Caden going early, he's had big games against (East Grand Forks), but Julian always has big games against us."
East Grand Forks barely broke a sweat as it outscored Crookston 58-32 in the second half. The 107 points are by far the most the Pirates have allowed all season.
Osborn scored 35 points and grabbed 14 rebounds for the Pirates, while Garmen had 18. Easton Tangquist (Jr., G) chipped in with nine points, Walker Winjum (Sr., G) had seven and Brady Butt (Sr., F) had added two.
Along with Benson's career night, Nathan Willett (14), Sam Votava (14), Tyler Aamodt (11) and Tanner Campos (10) were all in double-digits scoring for the high-powered Green Wave.
"There were a few times where we'd get something set up and then we'd force a shot too early," Winjum said. "We gotta grind through our offense to get a good look, because they don't want you to grind through your offense, they just want to pressure you. I think if we do that and slow the game down, it will help us out a lot and work to our advantage (next time against East Grand Forks)."
UP NEXT: Crookston plays Dilworth-Glyndon-Fenton in Glyndon on Monday, Jan. 6 at 7:30 p.m.
DGF is 4-4 and 1-2 in Section 8AA.
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