G4 -- Fourth-grade Lady Crusaders edged by Leominster
The fourth-grade girls were edged in a close back-and-forth game with Leominster, 21-19. The Lady Crusaders played strong defensively and managed to convert turnovers on the fast break and led for the majority of the second half. Rebecca Brennan (seven points) led all G-D scorers and also dominated the boards with nine rebounds. Jackie Gervais and Clare Joyce each had four points. Bella Hutchins and Cassidy Lacombe also made key baskets for the Lady Crusaders in the loss.
G5 -- Groton-Dunstable wins rematch with Wachusett green
The fifth-grade girls basketball team avenged an early-season loss to Wachusett Green in a tense overtime game, 21-17. As was their last battle, it was a very close game from the tip to the final buzzer. The Crusaders scored the first four points of the game, but Wachusett quickly responded. The lead flip-flopped throughout the first half, and Wachusett led 10-9 at half-time.
Led by strong post play from Riley Tennant, Olivia Shusta, Brenna O'Malley, and Ali Vogel, the Crusaders edged ahead by two as the clock wound down in the second half. Wachusett again battled back, scoring a jumper to tie the game in the final minute to send it into overtime.
In the overtime period, it was all G-D. Riley Tennant scored three points, and Emily Hutchins chipped in with a free throw as G-D held Wachusett scoreless to win the game.
G-D's perimeter players Sierra Wynn, Amanda LaCombe, and Caroline Straw played stifling defense to limit the offensive threat of Wachusett's guards. Maddie Dondero was perfect from the line, converting two critical free throws near the end of regulation. Brenna O'Malley helped immensely on the boards with many key rebounds. Kyleigh McDonald led the Lady Crusaders with five points.
B5 -- Crusaders overcome sluggish start to top Oakmont
The fifth-grade boys traveled to Oakmont to play their final regular season game. After a sluggish start to the first quarter falling behind by six, G-D got it going and trimmed Oakmont's lead to one, 12-11. With a minute left in regulation, Hunter Poulin hit a huge free throw to make it a two-possession game. G-D played smart, managing the clock to win, 33-28. Ryan Bernard led with eight points. Jack Barry and Matt Fordham had six points and Riley Curran had five points). The team finished 7-3 in the Fifth Grade Division I. Next week they will play in the Fundamental Hoops Tournament and in March they will participate in the CMYBL Playoffs.
G6 -- Lady Crusaders finish regular season unscathed
The sixth-grade girls faced off against Wachusett G7 this past weekend in a match-up of two very athletic and aggressive teams. The G6's jumped out to a strong start and created many transition buckets off of its pressure half-court defense. After leading for much of the first half, the Lady Crusaders used a late push to up its half-time lead to 24-11.
The second half saw G-D extend their lead to 17, but Wachusett refused to back down, as they slowly chipped away at G-D's lead. With three minutes left, the lead had dropped to eight. The teams traded baskets, but not before G-D finished things up with a 34-26 win. The win wrapped up regular season play and the girls finished with a 10-0 record. They will now begin preparing for the playoffs by participating in a winter break tournament.
The girls showed great balance again as nine players scored. Jillian Van Pelt (eight points), Nicole Tammaro (six points) and Rachel Erickson (six points) led the way in scoring. Bronwyn Mulligan and Abby Eisenklam paced the team with six rebounds each. Emma Wilson, Cate Bolton and Carolyn Mullins all turned in huge hustle plays to extend G-D's lead. Olivia Ray and Lauren Hill had huge defensive games. Ray had three blocks and Hill added four steals.
B6 -- Groton-Dunstable romps past Littleton
The sixth-grade boys easily ran past visiting Littleton, 46-12, on Sunday afternoon. The Crusaders created a 22-8 half-time lead, and they never looked back. Tim Stark (15 points) and Tyler Peck (13 points) led all scorers. Charlie Willis and Jack Foster added eight points a piece.
B7 -- Cold shooting dooms Crusaders
Cold shooting and turnovers plagued the seventh-grade boys in the first half, resulting in Waltham building a 34-15 advantage at half-time. Groton-Dunstable's shooting woes continued in the second half, as the Crusaders shot just 15 percent from beyond the arc. G-D played Waltham even in the second half, but the Crusaders were unable to close the 19 point first-half deficit, losing, 57-38. Will Manzi had his strongest performance of the year, playing hard on both ends and finishing with eight points. Joe Bushnell was on fire in the closing minutes, scoring seven points in one minute of play. Connor Keegan played great defense and netted seven point. Finn Lynch had another strong defensive performance, including drawing Waltham an offensive charge. Evan Cook added nine points.
B7, Div. II -- Depleted Crusaders come up short at Quabbin
Despite only having five players on its roster, the seventh-grade boys, Div. II team never let up from start to finish against host, Quabbin. The Crusaders came up just short in the end, as they fell, 45-38. James Willson received the hustle award, while Sam Boudreau led G-D scorers with 19 points. G-D finished its regular season with a 6-5 record, and will see playoff action the first weekend in March.
G8 -- Groton-Dunstable caps off regular season with win
The eight-grade girls finished the regular season with a 48-28 victory over Leominster. It was a full team effort, with all nine players scoring points, tallying rebounds and making steals. Chloe McDonald (four rebounds) led all scorers with nine points. Abby Hoey had a great game on the glass, finishing with a season-high nine rebounds in addition to making a three-pointer. Jordan Wynn had eight points and nine rebounds. Point guard Ellie Eisenklam did a little bit of everything. Eisenklam finished with seven points, three rebounds, two assists and six steals. Sarah Mullins (two rebounds) added five points and Leah Garside (five rebounds) chipped in four. Maddie Tammaro went three-for-four from the free throw line in the closing minutes, finishing with five points and a team-high four assists. Erin Scanlon (two steals) had three points and Erin Keough added four.
B8 -- Crusaders punch their ticket to playoffs with win over Wachusett
The eighth-grade boys needed a win against Wachusett to secure a trip to the playoffs, and they delivered with a 43-38 victory. The Crusader zone press created confusion for Wachusett throughout the game. In the first eight minutes of the game, the score went back-and-forth. Three-pointers by Neil Swain, Wiley Ordemann, and Patrick Ryan put G-D up early, 9-6. Taking advantage of points off the press, G-D extended its lead to 19-11 just before the half. Wachusett made a desperation three-pointer from near half-court as time expired leaving G-D up, 19-14, at the half.
Opening the second half, Wachusett closed the gap to 19-16. G-D responded with a 15-0 run stretching the lead to 34-16 with 10 minutes left. Wachusett made a spirited come back to draw within eight points of G-D with four minutes remaining. G-D slowed the game down and controlled the ball for most of the remainder of the game, making clutch free throws down the stretch.
Neil Swain had the hot hand scoring 21 points overall with three, three- pointers, 11 of his points came during the 15-0 run. Patrick Ryan contributed with seven points, and Rip Carr finished with six points and seven rebounds. Drew Stone, Joey Femia, and Swain played outstanding defense in the zone press, which lead to many transition baskets.