All night, no one had denied Katie Borowicz. She wasn't about to let anyone stop her now.
The Roseau guard walked to the free throw line with the weight of the home crowd descending on her shoulders, needing one to tie and two for the lead. She got the first, but the second bounced off the front of the rim.
As the Rams and Pirates battled for the rebound, the ball found its way into Borowicz's hands. She cut to the hoop and flicked home her 39th and 40th points of the night with nine seconds to play.
Borowicz's layup proved to be the game-winner, as Roseau beat Crookston girls' basketball, 61-60, on Tuesday night in a battle of Section 8AA heavyweights at Crookston High School. The Rams (15-3, 9-1) snapped the Pirates' eight-game winning streak while extending their own winning streak to eight games.
"We're not disappointed by our effort," said Hayden Winjum (So., G). "We worked hard out there until the end."
Crookston (15-3, 7-3) had been hungry for a second chance at Roseau since losing the initial bout between the two teams, 74-65, in Roseau on Dec. 19. The packed home gym was just as hungry.
But the Pirates didn't seem to feed off that energy at first. Early turnovers against the Rams' tight defense put them in a 14-7 hole early. Crookston made headway midway through the first half, cutting the lead to 16-15, but Roseau never relinquished the lead and led 29-24 at halftime.
The first half was one of contrasts. The Pirates couldn't find their range from outside, staying alive only through occasional moments of hustle, while Borowicz (15 first-half points) rained fire for the Rams.
Much of that disparity was because Crookston's own go-to scorer, Emma Borowicz (Jr., G) was saddled with foul trouble for good chunks of the first half, scoring only one point. But she spent the second half made up for lost time.
Borowicz would finish with 21 points, and she got the first four of those in the second half as part of a 9-2 run that put the Pirates up 33-31, capped off by a Halle Winjum (8, G) layup.
"We got up, we started to press them and that's when they started to turn the ball over," Borowicz said. "We were aggressive and that worked in our favor."
Crookston had an answer for anything Roseau threw at it. The Rams held multiple leads of at least seven points in the second half — the last of which was 57-50 with under three minutes to play — but Borowicz's catch-and-shoot three with 42 seconds left cut it to one.
The Pirates went to a full-court press on Roseau's next possession, trapping Katie Borowicz in the corner and forcing her into a turnover. Hayden Winjum, who finished with 15 points, banked in a runner with 32 seconds to play, giving Crookston a 59-58 lead.
Katie Borowicz, as she had all game, delivered on the next possession, but the Pirates still had multiple chances left. The first fell to Halle Winjum, who was fouled with three seconds left. She hit the first, but her second bounced off the rim.
Crookston's press did its job again, forcing a jump ball with the possession arrow in its favor and stealing one last possession. The inbounds pass went to Emma Borowicz, but she never got a shot off.
"In a word, disappointed," said head coach Darin Zimmerman. " ... It seemed like just a few things over the entire game that we just didn't do as well as we normally do. A little bit with some aggressive things and things that we generally are pretty good with, and things we just gotta get a little tougher and be a little better with."
UP NEXT: Crookston wraps up a four-game homestand on Thursday, Jan. 30 at 7:30 p.m. against East Grand Forks. The Pirates won the previous meeting, 55-21, in East Grand Forks on Dec. 10.
The Green Wave, last season's No. 2 seed in Section 8AA, have had a down season thus far — they currently sit at 5-11 with a 2-5 record in section play.
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