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Lady Crusaders win third straight by edging Bromfield

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GROTON — The Groton Dunstable girls basketball team has found life difficult in MidWach B this season, but the Lady Crusaders are in the midst of a strong finishing kick. They won their third consecutive game, and improved to 6-10 for the season, by holding off Bromfield 45-38 on Tuesday night.

The Lady Crusaders relied on an aggressive defense and a balanced offense to get the job done. Groton Dunstable opened up an 11 point first half lead by forcing Bromfield turnovers, and withstood a second half Bromfield charge.

Leda Tornaritis paced three Lady Crusaders in double figures with 11 points and four steals, followed by Stasia Twomey (three rebounds) and Megan Gearin (three steals) with ten points apiece.

Sophomore center Lindsey Burke kept Bromfield in the game with another outstanding effort, finishing with 17 points and ten rebounds, while Lydia Maurer (three rebounds, two steals) and Henley Siegrist (two rebounds, three steals) each added seven points.

”We had nice balance in the game,” said Groton Dunstable coach Mark Hennelly.

”We were playing the second game of back-to-back nights and we were flat in spots, but when we needed to make a defensive stop we made it. This gives us a three game winning streak and I think we are developing confidence. The girls have worked hard all year long and now are being rewarded for that hard work.”

”Groton Dunstable is a physical team that plays good defense,” said Bromfield coach Tom Hill. “But we didn’t shoot the ball well and made some unforced errors. Lindsey Burke played a very tough inside game for us and was strong off the boards.”

Bromfield struggled offensive over the first 12 minutes of the game as they were hampered by 15 first-half turnovers. When Ashley Ottens converted after grabbing an offensive rebound, Groton Dunstable led 17-6 and were on the verge of blowing the Lady Trojans out of the gym.

The Lady Trojans climbed back into the game by scoring eight of the next ten points to draw to within 19-14. Burke hit a free throw and Maurer buried a perimeter jumper. After Stephanie LaValley hit a 15-footer for the Lady Crusaders, Morgan Smith hit a lay-up off a pretty pass from Siegrist, and Burke had a conventional three-point play to cut the lead to five.

Emily Holmes connected on a 15-footer to send Groton Dunstable to intermission with a 21-14 lead.

Just as they had done in the first half, Groton Dunstable controlled play in the early stages of the second half, putting together a 15-8 run to move in front 36-22 with 11 minutes left in the game. Twomey paced the spurt with six points and solid work inside the paint, while Tornaritis added five points, including a three-pointer, and Gearin chipped in with a pair of perimeter jumpers.

Bromfield wouldn’t go away and slowly crept back into it, keyed by Burke. When Siegrist followed a single free throw with a pair of freebies, the Lady Trojans trailed 41-36 with 3:45 to play.

Twomey came up clutch with a big inside basket to short-circuit Bromfield’s momentum, and added a lay-up off a clever pass from Kelley Hutchinson which allowed the Lady Crusaders to hold on.

”This was kind of a gut-check game for the girls,” said Hennelly. “Things weren’t often working that smoothly, but the girls toughed it out. The key was our pressure defense, led by Leda.”

LaValley added five points for Groton Dunstable while Ashley Ottens finished with four points and four rebounds.

Rebecca Reusch finished with four points and four rebounds for Bromfield, while Kelly Thurston hauled down six rebounds.

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