Crookston did not make one three-pointer and lost their second game of the season.
MOORHEAD - Nine days after playing Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton in Crookston, the Pirates took on the Rebels again in the Blizzard of Basketball Holiday Tournament at Concordia College in Moorhead. This matchup differed vastly as Crookston did not make a single three-pointer for the first time this season, could not overcome an early deficit and watched the Rebels take the grudge match by a final score of 46-35.
“I thought, defensively, other than letting [DGF] get open for a couple threes, we did a pretty good job,” Head Coach Darin Zimmerman said. “Especially with the way we were playing on offense. We just weren’t very efficient. Our defense kind of let us hang around in the game which was important because we had our opportunities despite missing a lot of shots.”
Rachel Hefta (Sr. F) and Emma Borowicz (So. G) each scored 12 points to lead the Pirates (8-2). Dani Boyle (Jr. G) added five, and Kylie Solheim (Sr. G), Gretchen Theis (Jr. G) and Hayden Winjum (Fr. G) each put up two.
The Rebels (6-5) received point contribution from seven different players. Maria Watt (So. F), Katlyn Brenna (Jr. G) and Evelyn Moe (Fr. G) headlined the Rebels with 12, 10 and eight points respectively.
Last time these two teams met up, the Pirates scored 31 of their points on free throws in a 67-52 win. Crookston reached the free throw line this time a decent amount going 15-for-20, but missed every shot they took from behind the arc which, ultimately, made the difference against the Rebels who made six.
“I just think it’s the game,” Zimmerman said on his team’s shooting woes. “Sometimes you shoot really well, sometimes you don’t. Good shooters still find ways and consistency will usually prevail. There’s been games when we haven’t shot well and today was one of those days. Unofficially, I think we were 0-for-15 from three.”
The Pirates started the game rather uncharacteristically. Crookston missed open looks, took unfavorable shots and turned the ball over. The only bright spot came from their defense.
The defense for the Pirates surrendered 20 points in the first half which would have been enough to lead at halftime in seven other games this season. Crookston's 11 points in half number one marked their lowest score at the intermission this season.
Watt started the scoring for DGF with a basket and Boyle tied the game at two apiece. What followed was nearly a nine-minute scoring drought for the Pirates.
Four free throws from the Rebels and a three-pointer by Brenna helped DGF to a 9-2 lead with 11:17 to play in the half. During the run, Hefta committed her second foul with 13:25 to play and remained on the bench for the rest of the frame which limited Crookston’s size.
Brenna added another trey for a 12-2 lead, and the Pirates finally ended the lapse with a free throw by Boyle. Borowicz then scored her first points of the game with a pair of free throws and cut the deficit to 12-5 with 5:17 remaining.
The Rebels responded with a 6-0 run with two points coming from Peyton Wilson (Jr. F) and four from Moe and, with 3:09 left, led 18-5.
“[DGF] did a good job of contesting and taking away some of the things that we like to do,” Zimmerman said. “Part of it was what we were doing. I don’t think we hardly had a ball reversal. [DGF] is sitting in that zone, and we never made the defense move. Then we tried to attack, and there’s always three bodies there because we never forced them to move.”
Crookston scored more in the final three minutes of the half than the first 14 and it started with a three-point play by Borowicz to make the score 18-8. After DGF sunk a couple free throws, Theis drew a foul and capitalized on both of her shots from the charity stripe for a 20-10 score.
In the final seconds, DGF played for the last shot and turned the ball over. Borowicz took it, sprinted down the court and was fouled with .3 seconds to play. Borowicz made one of the free throws and Crookston went into halftime down 20-11.
When the second half began, it appeared as if the Pirates turned a corner. Winjum scored on a layup, Borowicz drove to the rim for two more points and Crookston trailed 20-15.
Brenna and Moe created distance each with a three-pointer as part of a 6-2 run and took a nine point lead ahead 26-17. The Rebels stayed hot from behind the arc, sunk two more threes and with 10:10 left, increased their lead to 36-21, their largest lead thus far.
“I think we had a couple breakdowns early on in the half,” Zimmerman said. “We certainly came out and played and did the things we talked about at halftime. We got the ball inside, we got the ball to Rachel, we got some points near the rim and then we got out of rotation defensively. We let some of their best shooters get pretty good looks.”
The Pirates made it a 12-point game with three free throws from Borowicz, but the Rebels stayed ahead by 15 with seven minutes remaining up 39-24.
In a last effort, Hefta scored the next eight Pirate points for an 8-1 run and cut the DGF lead to 40-32 with 3:33 left.
“We knew if we got spacing and middle touches or baseline touches…Rachel is a good player and she’s very good at taking the ball to the rim,” Zimmerman said. “She’s also equally unselfish and she’ll find an open player."
With three minutes to play, Watt scored to make it a double-digit game and the Rebels used free throws to put away Crookston and win 46-35.
The loss served as the Pirates’ second of the season and ended their four-game winning streak. Both losses on the year have come by double digit points.
“They played really hard and I don’t think that’s ever going to be an issue with this group,” Zimmerman said. “But we didn’t make enough plays and we forced some things that are kind of uncharacteristic of the way we want to play.”
Crookston wrapped up the 2018 portion of their schedule and will next play Bagley at home on Friday, January 4 at 7:30 p.m.
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