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Tough Westboro proves to be too tall a task for Crusaders

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‘I was pleased with the overall effort, but we just got killed on the boards.’ – Keith Woods, Groton Dunstable boys basketball coach

Westboro 73

Groton Dunstable 62

GROTON — Height is one of the few things in basketball that a coach can’t teach. That is what the Keith Woods and his Groton-Dunstable boys’ basketball team found out on Friday evening. Despite a stunning night from Adam Dombrowski (31 points, seven rebounds and seven steals) the Crusaders could not match-up on the boards with Westboro, who used a 52-27 advantage in rebounds to key a 73-62 victory.

“I was pleased with the overall effort, but we just got killed on the boards,” said Woods. “If you want to win a game, you can’t give up uncontested lay-ups and easy put-backs like we did. Adam had another great game as he has done for us all year, but we just didn’t match-up with them in the rebounding department.”

After quickly falling behind 5-0, Groton-Dunstable reeled off nine of the next 12 points to take their lone lead of the night. Steve Carroll was the key, hitting for five points, including a driving lay-up that made it 9-8 two and a half minutes into the game.

The Rangers started to exert their advantage in the post and showed off an impressive transition game, putting together a 17-3 to gain control of the game. Six different players had at least a bucket, led by six points from Ben Araya as Westboro grabbed a 25-12 lead.

Behind some long distance shooting, the Crusaders cut into the lead before the half. Dombrowski (five points), Manning and Kevin Greene all hit treys while Carroll added a rare four-point play as Groton-Dunstable scored 15 of the final 22 points in the first half to draw within 44-32 heading to the break.

Westboro quickly erased any hopes for a comeback by starting the second half with a 9-0 run. Banks was the catalyst with seven points in a variety of manners and an assist on a Chris Casey bucket as the Rangers held a 53-32 advantage.

Over the next five minutes, the lead stayed between 11 and 17 before a small run by Groton-Dunstable cut the advantage to single digits. A 9-1 run, keyed by Manning (five points) and Carroll (four points) drew the Crusaders to within nine at 67-58 with just over a minute to play, but it wouldn’t get any closer. Westboro hit six of their eight free throw attempts down the stretch to put the game on ice.

“We got solid efforts from Jake and Matt tonight and our bench gave us a lift at times, but it just wasn’t enough,” said Woods. “Trust me, we are going to find a way to get better on the boards. Maybe we will go small and run more, but I will guarantee you we will work on rebounding every practice.”

Along with Dombrowski’s big game, Carroll added 13 points, nine rebounds and three blocks for Groton-Dunstable. Manning finished with eight points and five assists while Greene chipped in five points off the bench.

Banks paced the Rangers with 23 points, nine rebounds, six assists and four steals. Araya was outstanding in the post with 15 points and 16 boards. Driscoll chipped in 10 points and 13 rebounds while Casey finished with eight points and six assists.

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