Allie Vogel leads the girls to victory

Swish. Allie Vogel (who led G-D with four points) sank an eight-footer to give the G4 girls team a 2-0 lead over Wachusett. It was a lead that they would not relinquish for the rest of the game. But it was a stifling defense that ended up winning the game for the fourth-grade girls. They had 36 steals and five blocks, including two a piece by Maddison Dondero and Riley Tennent. They held Wachusett to two points in the first half, and only two shots in the second half. In the end, they beat their opponents 9-4, their fourth victory in a row. Emily Hutchins played an outstanding game on the defensive end (six steals) and chipped in three points for the Crusaders.

Fitchburg hands fourth-grade boys their first loss

The fourth-grade boys suffered their first loss, 28-21 to a talented Fitchburg team. Although they played tough defense, only eight of 44 attempted field goals were made. Brandon Wiercinski led scoring with eight points. The 3-1 Crusaders will participate in the Fundamental Hoops Holiday Tournament over the holiday break.

Grade-Five Lady Crusaders come from behind

The Lady Crusaders faced off against Quabbin Sunday. Both teams came in undefeated at 3-0. The game was a match up of Quabbin's size and strength against G-D's speed and athleticism. The Lady Crusaders were very active on the press and used their quickness to force some early turnovers. Offensively, the girls faced their first zone defense and responded well.

The girls were down three points with two minutes to go, but battled back to finish with a 27-23 victory.

Defensive game balls went to Abby Eisenklam, Bronwyn Mulligan, Cate Bolton and Carolyn Mullins. They each played strong post defense against some much taller opponents. They embraced the challenge and battled hard for countless defensive stops and rebounds.

Hustle points were awarded to Maggie Jiser, Lauren Hill, Rachel Erickson and Emma Wilson. Their all-around play and offensive playmaking were huge.

Nicole Tammaro hit three three-pointers and finished with a team high 10 points. Jillian Van Pelt played incredible defense, recorded five points and multiple assists and rebounds. Her two clutch free throws with 5 seconds left iced the game. Overall, it was a tremendous team effort and the team battled hard for the victory.

Fifth-grade boys trounce Nashoba 48-27

The fifth-grade boys team stayed on the winning track by beating Nashoba 48-27 to remain undefeated on the season. The Crusaders used a tough man-to-man defense in the first half and took an 11 point lead into half time. In the second half the Crusaders pulled away behind the hot shooting of Tyler Peck and Sammy Eggimann who both finished the game with 11 points. Deaglan Garside provided terrific interior defense and some much needed rebounding. The Crusaders will try to remain undefeated next week when the face Maynard.

Grade-Six Lady Crusaders power past Littleton

The sixth-grade girls faced Littleton at home and continued their winning ways. Once again their strong defense proved too much for Littleton. Leading all scorers was Julia Stathis with 11 points. Sarah Wilcox chipped in with five points. The final score was 34-13.

Sixth-grade Crusaders run past Maynard 52-33

The sixth-grade boys beat Maynard 52-33. Jared LeClerc led the offense with 16 points followed by Evan Cook with 12 points and Jacob Gavel with nine points. G-D received strong rebounding efforts from Joshua Fiorentino, Jacob Gavel and Brian Scott.

Seventh-Grade girls beat Nashoba

The seventh-grade girls posted a 40-35 win over a visiting Nashoba eighth-grade team. The Lady Crusaders found themselves down at the half, 23-16, but aggressive full court defense held the visitors to only 12 points in the final period, allowing G-D to leave with the victory. Erin Keough had the hot hand in the first half, netting two three-pointers. Gillian Lindquist paced the team with 14 points and had key steals down the stretch. Leah Garside had a strong second half, scoring nine of her 10 points after the intermission. Ellie Eisenklam finished with five points, and Chloe McDonald, Jordan Wynn and Abby Hoey also found themselves in the scoring column. 

Crusaders narrowly defeat Maynard

The seventh-grade boys led this one the entire game, handing Maynard its first loss of the season. The Crusaders, behind strong inside play of Jack Smethurst and Graham Chilcoat, were particularly tough in the first half closing it with a 12 point lead at intermission. Maynard came on strong in the second half, cutting the lead to two, yet the Crusaders held on for a 44-42 victory. Rip Carr led the team in scoring (15 points) through a mix of outside shots and finishing plays after offensive rebounds. Joey Femia contributed 11 points, showing the ability to consistently hit the baseline jumper against Maynard's zone. Neil Swain contributed six points in the decisive first half and eight overall for the game. Next week, G-D plays rival Littleton at its gym.

T.A.P. downs eighth grade Lady Crusaders 47-39

In another heartbreaking thriller, the eighth-grade girls lost, 47-39, in overtime to T.A.P. on our home court. G-D had the ball for the last possession of regulation, but Mallory Cain's potentially game winning shot fell just off the mark at the buzzer. The regulation game was a battle with the lead changing a number of times, never getting larger than five for either team in regulation.

Hanna Van Pelt led the Crusaders with 15 and Nikki Eggimann added nine in a terrific effort.

Eighth-grade boys hang on for win over Concord-Carlisle

The eighth-grade boys had a solid team win, 62-54, over a gritty Concord-Carlisle team. After being down by as many as 10 points in the first half, G-D brought the game to within one by the end of the half. The second half started with G-D jumping out to take the lead. Playing great defense for G-D were Zach Gavel, Tyler St. Pierre, Nate Forbes and Michael Tammaro. Mitchell Townsend continued his beastly play on the boards. Dean Tornaritis hit key free throws (17 points) down the stretch to rob the game from C-C. Also putting up numbers offensively were Gavin Keough (14 points) and Logan Higgins (10 points).

-- Contributed by Sarah Eisenklam