Pirates rout Warroad, 74-18, in first round of playoffs
It wasn't as close as the scoreboard indicated.
Not something typically said about a 74-18 victory. But it applies when the Crookston girls' basketball team's starters played barely half the game.
With 4:36 to play before halftime, the Pirates (15-3, 13-3 Section 8AA) led Warroad, 51-1. The Warriors made a run against Crookston's reserves before Crookston began the second half on an 11-0 run.
Then Emma Borowicz, Hayden Winjum, Halle Winjum, Emma Boll and Abby Borowicz, in that order, went to the bench. There wasn't a need for them to return.
"We got multiple kids that can play," said Crookston coach Darin Zimmerman. "It's just a matter of starting to rotate some kids in and get them some time and get them opportunities out there."
That's the benefit of being the No. 1 seed in Section 8AA North, facing No. 8 seed Warroad, a team that the Pirates beat by 38 points back on Jan. 16. Just about all Crookston had to do in the opening round of the playoffs Wednesday night was show up.
It did that and more. Three minutes in, the Warriors' Avianna Heppner hit a free throw to make it 8-1. Over the next 11 minutes, the Pirates scored 43 unanswered points, sinking eight 3-pointers and forcing 14 turnovers.
Emma Borowicz scored 18 points, hitting four shots from distance. Abby Borowicz knocked down multiple threes as well. Boll and Hayden Winjum combined for 16 points in the paint.
Sometimes a more talented team can steamroll an overmatched opponent purely using a physical or athletic advantage. Not the case here.
"We made shots," Zimmerman said. "That certainly helps and makes everything look easier, look more organized out there. It was good to see just us execute on offense. It's one thing to make shots, but you make shots when you execute."
With tougher competition looming, and sportsmanship being a virtue, it's understandable why Zimmerman chose to go to his bench so early. The Warriors (5-15, 2-6) probably saw it as a blessing. They scored the last eight points of the first half while holding the Pirates scoreless.
"It's kind of hard sometimes," Zimmerman said. "You come in after sitting on the bench for a little while. You're in the flow of the game but your legs aren't ready yet, because you got through a full warmup and you've sat a little bit."
But after Crookston's starters played the first few minutes of the second half, just to put the finishing touches on, the bench came in once more. This time, they were ready.
Ultimately, the Pirates outscored Warroad, 12-9, even after their starters left the contest. Everyone on the active roster got into the game, and eleven Pirates got on the scoresheet.
"In the first half, it took a while to adjust and Warroad made some nice plays during that time," Zimmerman said. "I thought in the second half (the reserves) really stepped up, executed, ran things better, a lot stronger with the ball too."
That's exactly what Crookston will look to do in the next round of the playoffs. But with its starters once more.
UP NEXT: Crookston will host Barnesville (12-5, 9-5 Section 8AA) in the Section 8AA quarterfinals Friday at 7:00 p.m. The Trojans, the fifth seed in Section 8AA South, rallied from a 24-point halftime deficit to beat Menahga, 61-53 in the opening round Wednesday.
Barnesville beat the Pirates, 54-51, on Feb. 20 in Crookston in the team's lone meeting.
- Points: Emma Borowicz 18, Hayden Winjum 12, Emma Boll 8, Emma Osborn 8, Abby Borowicz 6, Halle Winjum 6, Madison Hoiland 4, Ally Perreault 3, Amelia Overgaard 3, Jenna Coauette 3, Libby Salentine 3
- Team: 30 field goals, 10 3-pointers, 4-13 free throws
- Points: Catherine Thompson 9, Avianna Heppner 8, Laci Kennedy 1
- Team: six field goals, three 3-pointers, 3-8 free throws
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