GROTON -- For the better part of three quarters, Groton-Dunstable could not shoo the pesky Hudson Hawks away. Groton-Dunstable's youth shouldered the load Tuesday night, as freshman guard Hanna Van Pelt netted a game-high 13 points in the Lady Crusaders', 52-28, win over Hudson.
"Eventually, we did what I thought we were capable of doing -- that is put them away," Groton-Dunstable head coach Mark Hennelly said. "I thought we were the stronger, more athletic team. I thought we let them hang around too long, and we did eventually put together the run. We can be really good in spurts, but it's a matter of maintaining consistency."
Hudson's only lead of the night came 35 seconds in when Courtney Braga laid in a basket to give the Hawks' a 2-0 lead. From that point forward, it was all Groton-Dunstable. The Lady Crusaders cobbled together a 12-2 run, highlighted by a Van Pelt three-pointer from the left corner to put the hosts on top, 12-6, at the end of one. More of the same offense in the second quarter for Groton-Dunstable.
Junior Melyssa Langell (nine points, four rebounds) found her range from three-point land with a strike to extend the Lady Crusaders' lead, 15-6. Later in the quarter, the Lady Crusaders' lead grew to as much as 15 points following a pair of converted Kara Jussaume free-throws. The Hawks ended the opening half on a 5-2 run as Meghan Brennan's beat the buzzer with a three-point heave from the right corner to bring Hudson within 12 at the half, 29-17.
Hudson freshman point guard Nadia Doherty emerged from the break and swished a three-pointer from the top of the key to trim Groton-Dunstable's lead back to single digits at nine, 29-20. Down the stretch, Groton-Dunstable outscored the Hawks, 23-8.
"It took a while for the run to come, but it finally did," he said. "Maybe that is just part of being young. All I know is that it needs to get better."
Plausse paced the Lady Crusaders on the glass with her seven rebounds. Senior point guard Celina Antonellis had six points, three rebounds and three steals in the win.
"I love Jenna Plausse's aggressiveness and hustle," the coach said. "Nobody has gotten better from the start of the season than Cara Jussaume. She has done a tremendous job. There's a lot of great things to build on, but there are a lot of other things that we need to work on. We have to get out and run. We just have to keep working at it."
Antonellis was honored prior to the start of Tuesday night's game in Groton-Dunstable's annual Girls and Women in Sports Day. Antonellis, along with field hockey/lacrosse senior, Livy Penney and class of 2001 Groton-Dunstable alum, Kasie Strong-Fairbarn, were also honored prior to tip-off. Strong-Fairbarn was recently inducted into the Rochester Institute of Technology Hall of Fame as an accomplished women's hockey player.