Jan 152014

GROTON — The Groton-Dunstable Crusaders girls’ basketball team saw its four-game winning streak come to an end Tuesday night at G-DRHS in a 59-55 loss to the Westborough Rangers.

The game was not as close as the final score indicated. The Crusaders found themselves in foul trouble early, allowing the Rangers to get into the bonus six minutes into the first quarter. The Rangers also out-rebounded the Crusaders 36-25. Despite all this, the Crusaders stayed close to the Rangers throughout first half, trailing 10-8 after the first quarter and 25-21 at halftime.

“We had little lapses,” Crusaders head coach Mark Hennelly said. “We had lapses in defensive intensity, we had lapses in rebounding. Those lead to fouls and turnovers.”

“We weren’t initiating our offense,” he added. “There was a lot of standing around. We need to get people their shots in the context of the offense. And that just wasn’t happening.”

But once the third quarter started, they “disappeared,” as Hennelly put it. The fouls began to pile up again, the Rangers began the quarter on an 8-2 run, all leading up to a play that epitomized the entire frame: Westborough’s Amy Wilichowski (20 points, four rebounds, four steals, two assists) intercepted an inbound pass from Lindsay Werner at midcourt with 3.9 seconds to go, strolled up to the three-point line, and nailed a shot as time expired to put the Rangers up 44-32.

“We have these gaps where we don’t match the intensity with the other team,” Hennelly said. “You’re usually not going to dig out of that hole against the better teams.

The Crusaders tried to make a game of it in the fourth quarter, outscoring the Rangers 23-15 and making a couple of threes in the final minute, but it was too little too late, as Werner (20 of her 24 points in the second half, five assists, one steal) sank her final three with less than a second remaining.

“Lindsay’s a very special player,” Hennelly said. “She can shoot from anywhere on the floor and create her own shots.”
Jenna Plausse notched a double-double for the Crusaders with 10 points, 12 rebounds, two assists and two steals, while Melyssa Langell added nine points, two steals, two rebounds, a block, and an assist.

For the Rangers (4-4, 2-1 Mid-Wach B), Tori Flahive had 10 points and three steals, while Mia Natale had seven points, 11 rebounds, four steals, and three assists.

The Crusaders (5-4, 3-1) will host Nashoba Friday at 7 p.m.