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WORCESTER — The third meeting of the season between MidWach B rivals Groton-Dunstable and Westboro took place in the final game of the Clark Tournament Large School Division and bred nothing but respect. On a night when both teams’ offenses looked like the Karate Kid trying to catch a fly with chopsticks, Groton-Dunstable gutted out a 38-37 overtime victory.

The game was a purists delight with both defenses making the offenses earn every point. Scrums and players diving to the floor were the rule for the entire 36 minutes. Danny Eipp was a defensive standout for Groton-Dunstable, harassing the Westboro guards with his quickness and sacrificing his body in the process.

“Winning two Clark Tournament championships is great for the kids,” said Groton-Dunstable coach Keith Woods. “Westboro has really improved over the course of the season, but tonight we played tough and brought our defensive game, and it was enough to win.”

“Westboro is a good team,” said Groton-Dunstable point guard Derek McCaffrey, who led the Crusaders with 18 points, in addition to eight rebounds, two assists and two steals. “Their 2-3 zone gave us trouble and we struggled to hit the outside shots needed to loosen it up. We turned the ball over a lot in the third quarter, but we really scrapped in the fourth quarter and overtime.”

“Westboro’s two big guys are tough,” said Groton-Dunstable forward Ryan Romich, who finished with eight points, seven rebounds and two blocked shots. “We fronted them and Cam Willcox played good help defense. I think our man-to-man defense keyed the win.”

Keyed by the energy of McCaffrey, the Crusaders built a 13-9 lead after one quarter. Westboro’s Brian Orlando put the Rangers on top 4-2 with he hit a 15-footer, but McCaffrey converted a steal into a lay-up and finished off a drive to put the Crusaders on top 6-4. When Romich scored on a drive to make it 8-4, Westboro called a timeout with 4:16 left in the first quarter.

The remainder of the quarter consisted of a pair of 5-0 mini runs, one by each team.

Patrick Hession drained a 3-pointer, and Nate Foy added a follow-up basket to give Westboro a 9-8 lead. But McCaffrey buried and 3-pointer, and Willcox (four points, eight rebounds) hit a pair of free throws to give the Crusaders their four point lead after eight minutes.

Westboro drew even at 15-15 midway through the second quarter on a free throw by Nick Mastrogiacomo, but the Crusaders fashioned another 5-0 run to close the quarter and take a 20-15 lead to intermission. McCaffrey did the damage offensively, sandwiching a drive and a steal for a lay-up around a free throw.

After Westboro’s Nick Flahive opened the third quarter with a 3-pointer to cut the lead to two, Romich tossed down a dunk after taking an alley-oop pass from McCaffrey, and Willcox hit two free throws to build the lead to 24-18, but the Rangers bounced back to score 10 of the final 12 points in the quarter to take a 28-26 lead entering the fourth quarter. Orlando was the catalyst of t he spurt with a pair of baskets, while Mastrogiacomo chipped in with three free throws.

A 17-foot jumper by Will Peregoy drew Groton-Dunstable even at 29-29 approaching the midway point of the fourth quarter, but Westboro got a 15-footer by Orlando (10 points, six rebounds, four steals), and a drive by Nick Foy, who finished with nine points, 12 rebounds and four steals to move in front 33-29.

Groton-Dunstable tossed a shutout over the remainder of the quarter and eked out just enough offense to send the game to overtime. Eipp (six points, five rebounds, two steals) hit a 15-footer, before Romich tied the game with a fast break-lay-up after taking a pass from McCaffrey.

Both teams missed free throws early in the overtime and the game remained deadlocked until McCaffrey’s reverse lay-up made it 35-33. Foy came back to score on a follow-up basket to tie the game.

McCaffrey buried his second three-pointer of the game, but Orlando drew Westboro to within 38-37 by finishing off a drive with 1:23 remaining. Neither team would score again as crucial offensive rebounds by Peregoy and Willcox in the final minute allowed the Crusaders to survive.

“We’ll take the day off tomorrow and then get back to work preparing for the Districts on Monday,” said Woods.