The Crookston Pirate Boy’s Basketball team was unable to overcome a 19-0 run by East Grand Forks in the first half as the Green Wave beat the Pirates for the third time this season 86-74 in the first round of the Section 8AA tournament played in the East Grand Forks High School Gymnasium.
One minute into the first half, Tyler Aamodt swished a corner three-pointer giving East Grand Forks a 3-0 lead. Walker Winjum scored Crookston’s first points sinking two free-throws bringing the Pirates within 3-2. After a basket from EGF’s Sam Votava, Caden Osbon connected on two more free-throws trimming Crookston’s deficit down to 5-4. Following another Green Wave, basket, Nick Garmen buried a deep three-pointer tying the game at 7-7. Nick Garmen made another triple to give Crookston their first lead at 10-9 with 12:25 to play in the first half. Trailing 15-14, Caden Osborn scored inside followed by another Nick Garmen deep shot pushing the Pirates in front 19-16 with 9:03 to play in the first half. Walker Winjum scored pushing Crookston’s lead to 21-16. “Early on we were doing what we wanted to do,” said Pirate Coach Greg Garmen. “I thought the first nine minutes were very good.” East Grand Forks’ Tanner Campos scored to halt the visitor’s 7-0 run and bring the Green Wave back within 21-18. Campos basket proved to be a spark for EGF as Crookston turned the ball over on nine of their next ten possessions allowing East Grand Forks to carry a 19-0 run to a 35-21 lead over 5:34 in the first half. “We started playing too fast and had too many turnovers and that was pretty much the game because they were converting the turnovers into easy points,” said Coach Garmen. Carter Bruggeman ended the host’s run with two free-throws pulling the Pirates within 35-23 with 3:10 to play in the first half. Back-to-back baskets from Caden Osborn towards the end of the first half brought Crookston within 37-27, but the Green Wave closed the half on a 7-0 run to take a 44-27 lead into halftime.
Walker Winjum opened the second half scoring with a basket bringing the Pirates within 44-29. Nick Garmen scored two free-throws to continue to trim the Pirates deficit down to 44-31. Caden Osborn added another score inside bringing Crookston within 44-33 with 15:37 to play. Tanner Campos answered Crookston’s 6-0 run with a three-pointer reestablishing a 14-point lead for East Grand Forks. Jack Garmen responded with a three-pointer for the Pirates, but Crookston struggled to string together stops on the defensive end of the floor. With 12:32 to play, Nick Garmen missed a three-pointer after being fouled, allowing the senior to make three free-throws and bring Crookston within 53-45. “I am happy with the way the guys responded,” said Coach Garmen. “We could have tanked, but we didn’t and played hard and made a run at them.” The Green Wave answered right back with an 8-0 run including six straight points from Sam Votava giving East Grand Forks a 61-45 lead. Trailing 70-51, Caden Osborn buried a three-pointer before Jaden Lubarski knocked down a triple to bring the Pirates within 70-58. Walker Winjum scored to pull the Pirates within ten before a Caden Osborn basket made it 70-62 with 6:05 to play. “Walker had a nice game and was attacking the basket and shooting well,” said Coach Garmen. “Caden had a nice game and did his stuff even though he wasn’t feeling the best.” EGF countered with a 7-0 run giving East Grand Forks a 77-62 lead with 4:41 to play. The Pirates proved unable to trim the deficit back down to within a single digit the rest of the game as the Green Wave went on to close out an 86-74 win. “We were playing from behind and it is tough because they have a lot of threats and score a lot of points,” said Coach Garmen. “They spanked us the previous two games, but we played a little better tonight and the one run really hurt us in the first half. We told the kids it is about winning and losing because we keep score, but we hoped they got better as a basketball player, in the academics and as a person this year.”
Crookston ends their season with an 8-19 record. The Pirates say goodbye to seniors Chris Kazmierczak, Nick Garmen, Jonathan Abeld, Jaden Lubarski, and student-manager Shaun Nelson. “Johnny didn’t get a lot of minutes, but he is the crowd favorite. He has been with us all the way and he was a good teammate. Chris gave us a good spark and he always went hard and he has done pretty well and played his minutes well and he is a great kid. Jaden is a nice kid and a great athlete and will be tough to replace and he has been us since day one. Nick has done more than I thought he would do this year. He has good skills and has the whole package and will be missed next season,” said Coach Garmen. “Shaun did a great job of doing all the little things for us and he has been a great manager. He is a great kid to have around and he took it hard down in the locker room and he has been playing with us in open gym.”
East Grand Forks improves to 22-4 on the season and will take on Barnesville at Concordia-Moorhead on Saturday at 4:15 p.m.
|East Grand Forks||44||42||86|
|Nick Garmen||20||5||3 assists|
|Caden Osborn||19||4||4 blocks|
|Walker Winjum||15||3||3 steals|
|For East Grand Forks||Points|