ASHBURNHAM — There was a feeling in place that no matter who was next in line on the Groton-Dunstable boys basketball schedule that they were going to be in trouble. Coming off a disappointing season-opening loss, the Crusaders took out their frustration on Oakmont, using a 29-0 first half run to key a dominant 72-26 victory.
“We came out ready to play tonight and I knew the kids would after the way things went against Dracut,” said Groton-Dunstable coach Keith Woods. “Yesterday, we had a great practice and I knew that everyone was focused on the task at hand. I thought we came out and took care of business, which is what we needed to do.”
A Josiah Marchant 15-foot jumper drew the Spartans to within 6-4 two minutes into the game. It would be the closest the game would be for the rest of the night as the Crusaders proceeded to reel off 29 unanswered points in grabbing total control of the contest.
Ryan Romich was the catalyst for Groton-Dunstable, scoring 15 points in a variety of ways. The senior forward hit on three lay-ups, a trio of jumpers and also knocked down a three-pointer during the decisive stretch. Will Peregoy and Cam Willcox each added six points and when Brett Ursprung put home a lay-up with 6:20 to play in the second period, the lead had grown to 35-4.
Marchant broke the long scoring drought for Oakmont with a long trey, and Tim Baker followed that with an 18-foot jumper that made it 35-9, but the Crusaders regained their footing and closed the first half on a 9-2 spurt. Peregoy led the way with four points on a pair of lay-ups while Brian McCarron finished things off with a three-pointer that made it 44-11 heading into the locker rooms.
When the second half began, Groton-Dunstable picked up where they had left off, scoring 11 of the first 13 points. Romich had six of the points on three lay-ups while Willcox added three free throws. When Romich converted a lay-up off a McCarron feed, the Crusaders’ lead was 42 at 55-13.
Over the final 12 minutes of the contest the teams played nearly even basketball as the benches did most of the battling. Brian Murphy came off the bench and nailed a pair of treys, including one that made it 72-23, giving the Crusaders their largest lead of the night.
“I like that we got a lot of kids playing time tonight and everyone did a lot of good things,” said Woods. “Tonight, I thought Oakmont played with a lot of heart, it was just a tough night to catch us because we really wanted to make a statement.”
Romich led the Crusaders with 27 points, 11 rebounds, five assists, two steals and three blocked shots. Willcox finished with nine points. Peregoy added eight points and six boards while Derek McCaffrey ran the offense smoothly, chipping in with four points, seven rebounds and eight assists.