Pirates shoot down Fosston, 71-47, on Senior Night, snapping losing streak
Crookston's shots were falling, the gym was rocking and everything was finally coming together.
In a display that reaffirmed the Pirates' belief in their skill and their potential, they blew out Fosston, 71-47, on Friday behind a barrage from beyond the 3-point arc. With one of the biggest crowds on the season on hand for Senior Night, Crookston gave its fans a performance to remember.
It was the Pirates' second win of the season, their first since Jan. 21 against Climax-Fisher, and snapped an 11-game losing streak.
While Easton Tangquist, one of the seniors honored before and after the game, described the year as "tough" so far, it's nights like Friday that make it all worth it.
"We could have just given up," Tangquist said. "We chose not to, because we know what we can be and who we can be. Proving to people what we already know is important to all of us."
Last Friday, Crookston (2-13) was on the verge of doing just that. The Pirates, behind 10 3-point makes, led Ada-Borup by 19 points midway through the second half. It was some of their best basketball of the season. It was everything they thought they could be.
But the Cougars charged back, and the Pirates couldn't stave them off. It went in the books as a 74-69 defeat, Crookston's 10th straight: just another drop in the ocean.
What was different about Friday?
"We used a new game ball," coach Greg Garmen quipped. More important was what the Pirates did with it. They came out of the gates scorching, going 10-of-17 from downtown for the first half. Tangquist, who finished with 21 points, and sophomore Tristan Luckow (16 points, 10 rebounds) each knocked down three treys in the first seven minutes, putting Crookston up 20-9.
The Greyhounds (5-10), who never led, got within 24-16 shortly after. But Tangquist fired a salvo from NBA range with 6:22 to go before halftime to halt their 7-0 run. The Pirates responded with a shot of similar magnitude every time Fosston seemed like it might threaten.
"I just think I was playing loose," Tangquist said. "If I'm tight before games, I play super bad. But honestly, if I'm not even super-focused, and kind of out of it and having fun with my teammates and talking and just playing around, I feel like that really gets me ready."
Halftime doused Crookston's fire somewhat, as the Pirates hit just two 3-pointers in the second half. That was fine for them, though, since they got their inside game going. Senior Carter Bruggeman finished with 18 points, 10 of them coming after halftime and most of them coming by way of tough interior play.
"It helps when we get Carter going inside, because we haven't had much inside all year," Garmen said. "When we get somebody inside scoring a little bit, that certainly opens things up on the outside for us."
Crookston led by about 20 points for most of the second half. With the Ada-Borup loss still on their mind, the Pirates ran a methodical offense during the final minutes, swinging the ball from side to side, barely looking to shoot, and wasting as much as 45 seconds per possession.
Lest anyone forget what night it was, however, some of Friday's biggest cheers came when Lucas Winger, a little-used senior forward, ambled towards the scoring table. Crookston's five seniors — Winger, Tangquist, Bruggeman, Jacob Miller and Karsten Isaacson — played together for the final 2:47.
"Right when everyone else checked in, it was kind of a realization moment for me," Tangquist said. "This is never gonna happen again."
Tangquist said it felt like middle school all over again. In those years, he, Bruggeman, Isaacson, Miller and Winger made up their entire team. They shared the court every minute of every game, and while it was always a battle for them, they "made it work."
Bruggeman, Miller and Tangquist have been regulars this season, but Isaacson and Winger's appearances have come more sporadically. So the former three focused on getting the latter two as many shots as possible.
When Isaacson swished a 3-pointer from the right wing to score Crookston's final points, the crowd went wild once more. 20 seconds later, the Pirates' second win was official, and the celebration began.
"All of the kids, especially the seniors, have kept a good attitude. They kept believing in what we're doing," Garmen said. "I just kept telling them, you gotta keep working hard and try to get better and work on those things we're not good at. They kept doing that when other people might have given up on us and quit."
And on Friday, they were able to reap the rewards of that commitment.
UP NEXT: Crookston hosts Warren-Alvarado-Oslo Saturday at 3:00 p.m., in a game that was added to the Pirates' schedule just three days ago.
The Ponies, who are 7-7 this season, beat Climax-Fisher, 101-79, in their most recent game on Tuesday.
"They got some kids who can fill it up, and they got a big kid, 6-foot-6, so that's gonna be a little challenge for us," Garmen said. "We just gotta bring the energy, and hopefully that new game ball's still warm."
- Points: Easton Tangquist 21, Carter Bruggeman 18, Tristan Luckow 16, Karsten Isaacson 6, Jacob Miller 5, Jack Garmen 3, Jacob Hesby 2
- Rebounds: Tristan Luckow 10, Carter Bruggeman 8, Easton Tangquist 6
- Assists: Jack Garmen 4, Carter Bruggeman 3
- Steals: Carter Bruggeman 4, Jacob Miller 3
- Team: 26-58 field goals, 12-22 3-pointers, 7-13 free throws
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