Pirates get back to basics with 58-31 win over Stephen-Argyle
ARGYLE — Darin Zimmerman prefaced his postgame remarks Tuesday by clarifying he didn't want to take anything away from Fergus Falls, which beat the Crookston girls' basketball team, 44-37, last Friday. After all, the Otters are the ninth-ranked team in the state.
But against the Otters, Zimmerman didn't think the Pirates played the way they wanted to; didn't play their style. Which begs the question: what is that style?
"Aggressive defense, but smart defense too," Zimmerman, Crookston's coach, said. "Not allowing easy penetrating plays, whether it's off the dribble or off the pass, and just trying to make sure that everything is challenged somewhat.
"Offensively, we emphasize execution. We want to have good footwork, don't want to turn the ball over, not afraid to shoot outside shots. ... We want to run good offense and make teams work and guard us all over the floor."
That more or less tells the tale of Tuesday's clash between Crookston and Stephen-Argyle.
The Pirates began the game on a 15-2 run and put the game away with an 18-0 surge in the second half, taking down the previously unbeaten Storm, 58-31 by getting back to what they do best.
While a 13-point first half ultimately doomed Crookston (8-2) in Fergus Falls, it turned around and did nearly the same thing to Stephen-Argyle. The Pirates dove for loose balls. They rebounded. They got their hands up. They held the Storm scoreless for the first seven minutes, and without a basket for the first 11:39.
There were a few moments, however, where Crookston didn't quite play Crookston basketball. The Pirates got just a little bit complacent, Zimmerman thought. They didn't get down in a defensive stance. They weren't moving their feet. They weren't in position.
Stephen-Argyle (8-1) took advantage, cutting to the hoop with intensity and playing more aggressive overall. Riley Mooney and Casey Osowski scored some baskets inside to cut the Pirates' lead to 22-12 at halftime, and 25-19 early in the second half.
Then it was like Crookston flipped a switch.
Halle Winjum (Fr., G) drove to the basket and scored, then drilled a 3-pointer. Emma Borowicz (Sr., G) scored seven points in the span of a few minutes. With the score 38-19, Jenna Coauette (Jr., G) made an unselfish extra pass to Borowicz, who didn't hesitate at all to knock down a right-wing trey that was, for all intents and purposes, the dagger with over half the second half still left.
It was the opposite of everything that went wrong as the Storm came back, according to Zimmerman.
"We were in a stance, we were hustling, everybody was doing their job exceptionally well and we had good ball pressure," he said. "The defense set it up, but we came down and executed when we needed to on the offensive end. That in turn set up our full court defense. It all plays into each other."
What gave? Zimmerman couldn't pinpoint a specific play or thing he said to motivate his team, but he thought they were always on the doorstep of making a run like they did in the second half. For the game's first 12 minutes, Crookston played stellar defense, but a few outside shots rimmed out. When those shots started falling, it was game over.
"It's a matter of just making sure everything got in line together, all facets of the game," Zimmerman said. "We were just one facet away from that run in the first half, and second half we got to it."
Winjum scored 20 points, the second-highest scoring game of her season. Borowicz dropped in 14. While Crookston only shot 57 percent from the free-throw line, it was aggressive enough to get there 28 times. It held the Storm to only one 3-pointer.
The end result was a pretty familiar one.
UP NEXT: The Pirates will be at home for the first time in nearly three weeks when they take on Barnesville this Saturday (1:30 p.m.). The Trojans are 5-3 on the season and 3-3 in Section 8AA play. Last year, Crookston and Barnesville split the season series, each winning a game at home.
"You play good defense, then you gotta have good transition offense into your break into your primary offense and then transition that back to defense," Zimmerman said. "We just gotta be smooth in how we approach and do those things. We gotta apply (that) on Saturday."
- Points: Halle Winjum 20, Emma Borowicz 14, Emma Osborn 5, Abby Borowicz 4, Hayden Winjum 4, Ally Perreault 3, Amelia Overgaard 3, Jenna Coauette 3, Emma Boll 2
- Team: 19 field goals, four 3-pointers, 16-28 free throws
- Points: Riley Mooney 12, Casey Osowski 10, Greta Weberg 5, Grace Carlson 2, Marey Kazmierczak 2
- Team: 11 field goals, one 3-pointer, 8-10 free throws
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