GROTON -- In the second half of their season opener Friday night, the Groton-Dunstable girls' basketball team was nearly unstoppable offensively, racking up 37 points. The first half, well that was a different story. The Lady Crusaders fell behind 11-0 early and 29-16 at the break as 22 first-half turnovers proved to be too much to overcome in a 71-53 loss to Algonquin in nonleague action.
"I thought in the first half we lacked composure. We didn't run our sets and our press break just didn't work," said Groton-Dunstable coach Mark Hennelly. "Our passing was awful through most of the game and we dribbled into traffic too many times. But these are things we can work on. It is good to test yourself against good teams and we will continue to improve as we move along."
Early on, the Lady Tomahawks came on clicking on all cylinders, grabbing a double-digit lead less than four minutes into the contest. Amanda Murphy scored the first four points while Julia Insani added three points and three assists as Algonquin took advantage of six Lady Crusaders turnovers to grab an 11-0 advantage.
Eventually, Groton-Dunstable did settle down. Lindsey Werner, Cate Cullen and Rachel McCarron came up with baskets as part of a 6-0 run. The biggest highlight of the first quarter for the Lady Crusaders came at the buzzer, when Jamie Park knocked down a three-pointer to make it 19-10 after a quarter of play.
Neither team looked good in the second quarter as turnovers became prevalent. The teams combined for 20 turnovers in the eight-minute span. McCarron scored four of the Lady Crusaders six points while Sarah Merchant had four of her team's 10 points as Algonquin took a 29-16 lead into the intermission.
The lead grew to 24 at 42-18 before Groton-Dunstable put together its best stretch of play on the evening. A 13-3 run over the least three and a half minutes of the third quarter was keyed by McCarron, who poured in nine points, including a three-pointer off a Melyssa Langell feed in the closing seconds that made it a 45-31 game.
With six minutes left, Leanne Mueller knocked down a trey off a Riley Rodgers feed that drew the Lady Crusaders to within 12 at 51-39, but it would get no closer. The fourth quarter became a track meet as the teams went for 48 points, with the Lady Tomahawks holding a 26-22 edge as they closed things out and dropped Groton-Dunstable to 0-2 on the year.
"What I am happy about is that we fell in the early hole but never gave up," said Hennelly. "Our effort was there. It was an execution issue and that can be corrected. I thought Rachel had a solid night and Melyssa gave us some good minutes off the bench, we just need to improve in some areas if we expect to keep with the upper echelon of teams."
McCarron led all scorers with 24 points to go with 10 rebounds, four assists and six steals. Mueller finished with 10 points and eight rebounds. Werner added eight points while Langell chipped in four points and four assists.
Murphy led a balanced Algonquin attack with 15 points and four rebounds. Lucy LeBlond contributed 14 points, 10 boards and four steals. Dorian McMenemy finished with nine points and four rebounds while Merchant (eight points) and Insani (seven points, eight assists and six steals) also played well.