The Crookston Pirate Girls Basketball team held the undefeated and #8 ranked Stephen-Argyle Storm to one point in the final six minutes of the game to come from behind to win 48-44 in a game played in Argyle.
Crookston couldn’t have asked for a better start when they had back-to-back three-pointers from Dani Boyle and Hayden Winjum and Emma Borowicz added a basket for an 8-0 lead just shy of five minutes into the game. “That was a great start, especially on the road against a good team,” said Pirate Coach Darin Zimmerman. “We came out aggressive and it was multiple kids and we played good defense and we were cutting hard and getting open shots.” It was senior night for Stephen-Argyle and they started five seniors and when they brought in the first subs of the game, namely Riley Mooney (a 5’9 freshman) the Storm took over the game with an 11-0 run. The run was started with an offensive rebound and put back for Abbey Johnson and Mooney had an offensive rebound and put back which she followed with a three-pointer. 20 seconds later, Mooney had a steal which led to an Abigail McGlynn basket and Mooney capped the run with another basket and her seventh point of the run for an 11-8 lead. “We obviously didn’t start the game very well, but it was nice to see the girls bounce back with that run,” said Storm Coach Dan Lindgren. “Riley played well off the bench and that was great to see.” The teams battled back-and-forth the rest of the half and Stephen-Argyle would take a six-point lead and Crookston responded with a basket to cut the deficit to four points and that happened six times in the final five minutes of the half and the Storm took a 26-20 lead into halftime. “We played well,” said Storm Coach Lindgren. “Defensively, I thought we did a good job on Borowicz and Hefta and offensively we were okay.”
Crookston had a good start to the second half with a Hayden Winjum basket and after a Storm basket, Kasey Cwikla had an offensive rebound and put back followed by a basket from Rachel Hefta and Stephen-Argyle led 28-26 two minutes into the half. The teams exchanged baskets over the next seven minutes and Crookston tied the game at 34 with a Cwikla three-pointer from the corner halfway through the half. Stephen-Argyle responded with a three-pointer from Mooney and a basket from McGlynn for a 39-34 lead and it looked like the Storm had momentum with less than eight minutes left in the game. Stephen-Argyle had a 43-38 lead with six minutes left in the game when Crookston’s Gretchen Theis scored and Kylie Solheim followed with a three-pointer from the top of the key to tie the game at 43 with 4:26 remaining. “Getting the tie was important for us,” said Pirate Coach Zimmerman. “We had some confidence at that point and you could tell in the final minutes of the game.” Stephen-Argyle missed two free throw attempts with 2:59 remaining and on the next possession, Crookston got an inbound pass to Rachel Hefta who muscled up a quick shot under the basket to give Crookston their first lead since early in the first half with a 45-43 lead. Stephen-Argyle went back to the free throw line with 1:34 to go in the game and Savannah Riopelle made one of two shots to cut Crookston’s lead to one point. The Storm fouled the Pirates on the next two possessions and the Crookston shooter missed the front end of the bonus both times with 78 and 54 seconds left in the game. Stephen-Argyle continued their shooting and turnover woes and Crookston got the ball back and Hayden Winjum was fouled with 42 seconds to go in the game and she made both free throws. Hayden was fouled again with 18 seconds left and she made one of two and gave the Pirates a 48-44 lead. “I was nervous because I have been struggling on my free throws,” said Winjum on the KROX Radio postgame show. “I focused and zone out all the sound and just focused on the free throws. It was easier the second trip because we had a little more room, but I wanted to get at least one on the second trip. I think we are getting into the groove and playing well as a team.” Stephen-Argyle didn’t score on their next possession and the Pirates were fouled and missed two free throws, but it didn’t matter because time ran out and Crookston held on for the 48-44 victory. “It was a great win for us and hats off to Stephen-Argyle because they have had a great year and they are going to do some wonderful things in the postseason,” said Pirate Coach Zimmerman. “They have some great players and they are well coached and they are a very good team.” Crookston was led by Hayden Winjum’s 12 points and Stephen-Argyle was led by Riley Mooney’s 19 points and 21 rebounds. “Riley had a great game for us off the bench,” said Storm Coach Lindgren. “She played hard and really had a great first half for us. I thought we played well defensively tonight, but offensively we didn’t have much from our upperclassman and we need them to be consistent and that hurt us tonight. Crookston is a very good team and they should have more success in the playoffs this year.”
Crookston improves to 15-10 on the year and will wrap up the regular season hosting Breckenridge on Friday at the University of Minnesota Crookston’s Lysaker Gymnasium (because Crookston is hosting the Section 8A Individual wrestling tournament at the high school and UMC was gracious enough to let them play). With a win on Friday night, Crookston could possibly get the third seed in the Section 8AA north sub-section as they are in a three-team race with Hawley (Crookston has the tie-breaker with the Nuggets) and Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton (who Crookston split during the regular season). Stephen-Argyle drops to 22-1 on the year and will host Badger-Greenbush-Middle River on Tuesday night.
J.V. – Stephen-Argyle won 40-31
|Hayden Winjum||12||5||4 steals|
|Rachel Hefta||6||7||3 steals|