CONCORD — The Groton-Dunstable Crusaders ran into a buzz saw Tuesday night and fell to top-seeded Concord-Carlisle 77-44 in an MIAA Division 2 Central boys’ basketball tournament quarterfinal game at Concord-Carlisle High School.
The Crusaders led only twice, at 1-0 and 3-2 in the 1st quarter. The Crusaders traded baskets with the Patriots early on in the first quarter, keeping the margin at one, but soon the Patriots caught fire while the Crusaders went cold. Six different players scored in the first quarter for the Patriots compared to just three for the Crusaders. The offensive efficiency combined with four Crusader turnovers led to a 22-9 Patriot lead after one quarter.
The Patriots would continue to pour it on, opening the second quarter on a 9-2 run before G-D head coach Greg Gillette called his second timeout of the game. The Patriots would go on to outscore the Crusaders 25-15 in the quarter and go into halftime up 47-24.
If there were any hopes for the Crusaders to make a miraculous comeback in the second half, they were dashed in short order, as the Patriots opened the third quarter on an 11-2 run and once again outscored the Crusaders in the quarter 22-9. C-C senior guard Jamir Henderson exploded for four of his six threes in the third quarter, part of his game-high 25 points.
“He’s a college-level point guard,” Gillette said of Henderson. “We knew that coming in, and you have to just do your best against a kid like him.”
All five C-C starters, plus their sixth man Eric Sellew, made significant statistical contributions. Joey Crowley had 12 points, six assists, two rebounds, and two steals. Blaine Taylor had 11 points, five rebounds, two steals, and two assists. Austin Hoey had eight points and two rebounds. Jon Dor had six points, five assists, and two steals. Sellew came off the bench to register seven points, 12 rebounds, two blocks, and two steals.
Throughout the game, it seemed as if the hoop was wide open for the Patriots and firmly sealed shut for the Crusaders. The missed G-D shots allowed the Patriots to come away with a 34-24 rebounding advantage.
“[C-C] played at a different level of intensity,” Gillette said. “They got upset in their last regular season game [by Marblehead] and that really fueled their fire. They’re a good team, they’re going to make a deep run in the tournament.”
Gavin Keough led the Crusaders (8-12) with 13 points and five rebounds. Bobby Flanagan was the only other Crusader to score in double digits, scoring 10 points off the bench.
“I think [C-C was] very good defensively,” Gillette said. “They didn’t let us run many pick-and-rolls early on, and that’s a big part of our offense.”
The loss marked the final game for the Crusaders’ three seniors: Flanagan, Scott Csaplar, and Matt Werner. Gillette said he told them he was happy with the way they played all season.
“I was proud of them and the way they played hard and battled all year,” Gillette said. “I told them to play with a lot of heart and a lot of courage and a strong work ethic and I think they did that tonight.”