The Crusaders dug themselves in a deep hole early on, falling behind 13-0 and spending two timeouts before finally making their first basket with 1:57 left in the quarter. Corey Romich (14 points, eight rebounds, two assists, two blocks) got them off the schneid with his first bucket in five attempts. Scott Csaplar also had a great game for the Crusaders (now 0-2). He had six points, ten rebounds, two assists, two steals, and a block.
According to G-D head coach Greg Gillette, the stats belied his team’s effort. “They really had to grind to dig out of that hole, and that takes a lot of energy,” he said. “I was really proud of them. Their effort was unreal.”
The Crusaders were afforded a golden opportunity to cut into the Red Raiders’ lead in the second quarter when the visitors committed half a dozen turnovers and shot just 2-of-14 from the field. But the Crusaders were only marginally better, making just 4 of 15 shots, and were still down 22-14 at halftime.
“They did their jobs defensively,” said Gillette. “[Defense has] been one of our strong points. We’ve played two games and held both teams under 50.”
The Red Raiders shot 50% from the field in the first quarter. Fitchburg (3-0) found its stride again and pulled away in the third quarter, with Manny Payton scoring seven of his 14 points in the third quarter. He also chipped in four blocks, four steals, three assists, and two rebounds. Anthony Salome had 12 points, two rebounds, and two steals.
“I think Fitchburg is one of the best teams around,” said Gillette. “[Fitchburg coach] Jack Scott does a great job with them.”
Groton-Dunstable’s next game is Monday, Dec. 23 at 7 p.m. in Littleton.