GROTON - The first quarter of Saturday's make-up game between Groton-Dunstable and Marlboro started off sluggish.
However, in the second quarter, the Lady Crusaders' stymied the up-tempo attack of Marlboro with tenacious full-court pressure which led to transition baskets.
Lindsay Werner led all scorers with 10 points. Ultimately, Saturday's 41-21 victory over 1-3 Marlboro was a collective team effort by Groton-Dunstable.
"More-and-more players are stepping up," Groton-Dunstable head coach Mark Hennelly said. "Kara Jussaume is a huge find. Hannah Van Pelt was strong again tonight - I love her confidence. Lindsay Werner didn't have her best shooting night tonight, but the beauty of it was that we won comfortably."
Marlboro quickly bounded out to a 7-1 lead behind the steady shooting of sophomore guard Jillian Petrie and Molly Farrell. Groton-Dunstable closed the quarter on a 10-3 run behind the three-point shooting from Werner and Melyssa Langell, who each nailed one in the quarter to tie the game, 10-10.
The Lady Crusaders shook things up defensively in the second quarter and moved to a 3-2 full-court press, which helped disrupt the Lady Panthers' offensive flow.
Groton-Dunstable's athleticism at the guard position in Jenna Plausse and Jussaume proved to be too much for Marlboro to handle.
Groton-Dunstable's 12-0 spurt midway through the second quarter with consecutive three-point bombs from Jussaume, Van Pelt, Langell and Werner all helped extend the Lady Crusaders' lead to 27-12 at the half.
Groton-Dunstable outscored Marlboro, 27-2, in the second quarter.
The Lady Crusaders enjoyed much of the same dominance in the second half as they did in the first. Groton-Dunstable picked up where it left off in the second, extending its unanswered stretch to 14 consecutive points after consecutive makes from Werner and Van Pelt.
Werner extended the Lady Crusaders' advantage to 19 points with a 28-foot three-point heave at the buzzer that rattled home to make it, 36-17.
Hennelly opted to give his bench some well deserved minutes in the fourth quarter, and he posed a challenge to his reserves.
"In the third quarter, I thought we came out and finished the job," he said. "I felt we had just taken charge, and it was clear that we were going to win the game. Some of those kids who have been working hard in practice, but haven't had the playing time were outstanding. The challenge I put to them was that I wanted them to win that quarter, which they did by one point. So, I am thrilled with that part of it as well."
Other standouts for Groton-Dunstable included Alexandra Pray and Plausse chimed in with five rebounds each. Van Pelt had eight points and a game-high seven boards. Groton-Dunstable won the battle on the glass, 27-15.
"As I was at the beginning of the season, my optimism and enthusiasm for this team is endless," Hennelly said. "They are continuing to get better. The upside of this team exceeds miles and miles. Our big problem is our inconsistency. Tonight, we took five-or-six minutes off, and we got away with it. The challenge remains on becoming consistent."
Farrell led Marlboro with six points and four rebounds in the loss.
The win marks the Lady Crusaders first in Mid-Wach B play and moves them to 3-3 overall on the season. Next up for Groton-Dunstable is Quabbin on Tuesday at home - tip-off is scheduled for 7 p.m.