GROTON - Groton-Dunstable could not overcome an early shooting funk and had no answer defensively for Nashoba, as the Chieftains snuck out of Groton-Dunstable Regional High School Friday night with a 52-38 victory in tow.
Nashoba (9-9) outscored Groton-Dunstable 19-8 in the fourth quarter. The Crusaders shot
Senior captain Sarah Gillooly led Nashoba with a game-high 19 points, while teammate Samantha Maglione added 10. Sophomore Rachel Romich poured in 15 points and Hanna Van Pelt added 7 points and 10 rebounds in the loss. Hannah Wynn also performed well for the Crusaders on the glass with 15 boards and four steals.
"We are better than that defensively," said Groton-Dunstable head coach Mark Hennelly after the loss. "They (Nashoba) are a very good team and they played very well tonight. I am not shocked by the loss; I am just disappointed that we came out that way."
Nashoba is the first team to defeat the Crusaders since Jan. 14, when Groton-Dunstable fell to Leominster on the road.
"We have played with a great sense of urgency the last couple of weeks, but that just was not the case tonight," said Hennelly. "By the time we kind of identified that we were going to need that to win - it was too late. There will be those nights where we are able to win a game like this if we put points on the board - but that is not where you want to live."
Groton-Dunstable's Mid-Wach B finale at Marlboro, Tuesday, is for the league championship.
"This loss doesn't take anything away from us," said Hennelly. "It just puts more pressure on us. We just need to show some urgency Tuesday night. If we had won tonight, we would have had a chance to at least share the league title. Winner gets the league title - maybe we need that. I didn't feel that sense of desperation tonight."
Groton-Dunstable and Nashoba were tied at the half, 17-17, after the Crusaders scored 11-unanswered points. The Crusaders' largest lead - seven points - came two minutes into the third quarter after Romich swished a three-pointer from in front of the Groton-Dunstable student section.
The Crusaders soon went cold from the floor and Nashoba used a 10-2 spurt to emerge from the third quarter with a 33-30 lead.
Gavin Keough had a game-high 20 points for the Crusaders in Friday night's overtime loss in Bolton. Tyler Leclerc added 12, while Ethan Cook and Logan Higgins added nine each. Groton-Dunstable hosts Marlboro Tuesday night. Groton-Dunstable led at the half,34-26.