GROTON – The Groton-Dunstable Crusaders defeated the Westborough Rangers, 59-46, at G-DRHS Tuesday night. But despite the double-digit margin, there were some anxious moments.
The Crusaders’ best play on both ends of the ball came in the second quarter, in which they outscored the Rangers 21-4 and didn’t allow a point until there was 1:15 left. They made four threes and exhibited great ball movement leading to plenty of wide-open looks. It could have been even more lopsided, given that they forced 10 Westborough turnovers in that period alone, but they were inconsistent in converting those opportunities into points at the other end.
“Those things are going to come and go, but I liked the energy,” G-D head coach Mark Hennelly said. “The effort and the ball movement were good, and I’ll live with that.”
The Rangers made it interesting in the fourth quarter. Down by 20 entering the final frame, they went on a 10-0 run in the first four minutes. Eventually the Crusaders, after scoring their first points of the quarter with four minutes left, would come back with a 7-0 run to put the game out of reach, and Hennelly brought in his second-stringers.
“Mentally, we were in a place where we were all set,” Hennelly said. “We thought we had won, we thought the game was over, we shut down, and [Westborough] decided that they wanted to play the fourth quarter.”
Rebounding was an issue for the Crusaders in the second half, as Westborough came back strong and evened the rebounding totals at 33 per side by game’s end.
“I’m not thrilled with the overall effort,” Hennelly added. “I’m thrilled with certain aspects of it. We played a great second quarter, but I’m not pleased with our defensive rebounding in the second half. We’ve got to be better.”
Three Crusaders scored in double digits: Jenna Plausse (14 points, five rebounds), Lindsay Werner (13 points, six assists, four steals, four rebounds), and Melyssa Langell (11 points, three rebounds). Hanna Van Pelt also had a nice game with nine points and seven rebounds.
The Rangers, who have no seniors on their roster, were led by forwards Melissa Mitrovich (15 points, nine rebounds, two blocks) and Kaylie Doherty (six points, 10 rebounds).
“They’re bigger players, which we just have to deal with,” Hennelly said. “We’re always going to be the smaller team, so we’ve got to box out, and we’ve got to maintain intensity. We don’t have the size to just relax and hope that balls are going to fall in our hands.”
The Crusaders improved to 6-4, 3-1 in Mid-Wach B play.