By Sarah Eisenklam

Fourth-grade Lady Crusaders get it done on defense

The fourth-grade girls had another great defensive effort. For the third game in a row, they held an opponent to 12 points or under. The final score was 26-8. After a somewhat shaky start in which they allowed a quick four points in the first minute, the team settled into their stingy defense and held the Winchendon girls to just eight points for the game. Groton-Dunstable's offensive execution was crisp, with many good looks at the basket and 26 points in the game. Katie Eberhardt led all scorers with 12 points. Kyleigh McDonald showed great court vision and contributed eight points. Also contributing baskets were Allie Vogel and Sierra Wynn.

Fourth-grade Crusaders grind out 16-14 win over Lunenburg

The fourth-grade boys beat a scrappy Lunenburg team 16-14 to improve to 4-2. The Crusaders, playing shorthanded due to injury and illness, dominated the boards and loose balls. Riley Curran pulled in seven rebounds, while Ryan Bernard and Jack Barry each had five. The Crusaders clinched a playoff berth with the win. Groton-Dunstable hits the road this weekend to face Gardner.

Scoring drought dooms fifth-grade Lady Crusaders

The fifth-grade girls faced off against the Oakmont Spartans, and dropped a tough battle 18-13. The fifth-grade Lady Crusaders battled hard early, but faced a very cold shooting spell and went into halftime trailing 10-2. The girls displayed their normal grit in the second half and battled back to within two points at 15-13 with two minutes left. Jillian Van Pelt's steal and basket, followed by a three-pointer on the next possession, set the tone for the second-half comeback bid. Oakmont answered with their own three-pointer to extend the lead to five points. The G5's had a few chances towards the end, but just couldn't convert down the stretch. The girls head back to practice with a record of 4-2, ready to prepare for next weekend's game with Quabbin.

Fifth-grade Crusaders win convincingly over Leominster

The fifth-grade boys kept their impressive win streak alive with another convincing win, beating Leominster 41-19 on the road. Joe O'Malley lead the team with 12 points, five assists, and six steals, while Tim Stark chipped in with 10 points. A trio of Crusaders, Sammy Eggimann, Jack Foster and Deaglan Garside, managed to control the boards with five big rebounds each. The Crusaders will face Acton-Boxboro next week and hope to move to 8-0.

Sixth-grade Lady Crusaders roll past Acton-Boxboro, 35-30

The sixth-grade girls faced Acton-Boxboro at home. After a hard fought game, Groton-Dunstable kept their winning streak alive by winning 35-30. High scorers of the game were Rachel Romich with 13 points and Lydia Pray with 10 points. Elizabeth Zawada led the tempo on defense with great intensity and hustle. Julia Stathis and Jacqueline Forbes led the team in rebounding.

Sixth-grade Crusaders power past Acton-Boxboro Blue

The sixth-grade boys defeated Acton-Boxboro Blue by a score of 48-34. G-D's offense was led by Evan Cook with 11 points, followed by Finn Lynch with nine points and Jeremy Keast, Connor Keegan and Jared Leclerc rounded out the scoring with six points each.

Eighth-grade Lady Crusaders down eighth-graders

The seventh-grade girls faced off against G-D's eighth-grade team, coming up short at the buzzer and losing by a score of 44-32. The seventh-graders allowed the older graders to gain a 13-point advantage with time ticking down in the first half. But a huge offensive rebound on a free-throw and put back by Gillian Linquist ignited the team and allowed the seventh-graders to enter the half down by nine.

The second half would prove equally exciting, but some costly turnovers by Grade 7 were enough for Grade 8 to seal the victory. It was a total team effort by the seventh-grade team, with all 10 players making significant contributions. Lindquist led the team with 11 points, Madison Tammaro added seven and Jordan Wynn contributed six.

In a game that should make us all proud of our GDYBL program, the eighth-grade girls played their younger sister grade-seven team (playing in the grade 8 division). The contest was well played and competitive throughout, with the grade 8 team prevailing 44-32. Nikki Eggiman, Nichole Little and Sophie Irby applied strong defensive pressure in the backcourt.

Emily Gulick, Carly Smith and Leah Pezinowski patrolled the frontcourt and grabbed critical rebounds throughout the game. Hanna Van Pelt (14 points), Mallory Cain (10 points) and Brielle LeClerc (seven points) led the scoring for the Crusaders.

Seventh-grade Crusaders unable to top Waltham

The seventh-grade boys visited one of league's top teams in Waltham and jumped out to an early 11-2 lead, but suffered a 50-44 loss. Throughout the first half, a swarming defense and a patient offense resulted in the Crusaders holding a 30-19 advantage at halftime. The lead stretched to as much as 13 early in the second half. Waltham then heated up from the outside, hitting five three-pointers in the second half, while securing their first lead with 4:00 left in the game. G-D was not able to overcome the late surge, falling 50-44. Joey Femia and Neil Swain led a balanced scoring attack with 10 and eight points, respectively. Both Graham Chilcoat and Wiley Ordemann had strong games, providing a spark on the offensive end and on the glass.