AYER — On a sweltering Wednesday night at Ayer High School, Groton-Dunstable matched up against Ayer in the Ayer Girls Summer Basketball League. On a night when a number of familiar faces were missing due to vacations, Ayer received scoring from seven players and rolled to a 34-24 win.
Point guard Katie Poitras paced the Lady Panthers with eight points, finding her way inside the Groton-Dunstable defense on occasions to do some offensive damage. Ally Fillebrown added seven points, including a three-pointer, while Anna Peck (four points, two rebounds, two steals), Casey Hardgraves (three points), Amanda Shaughnessy (three points), and Ashley Christy (two points, three rebounds) also put their names in the scorebook.
Anna Towle played a strong all-around game for Groton-Dunstable, finishing with 13 points and four rebounds, while Kayla Meijer added six points and five rebounds, Amy Mattson three points and two steals, and Erin Smolka two points and two rebounds.
Ayer started quickly, building a 5-0 lead in the opening minute on a three-pointer by Fillebrown and a 15-footer by Peck, but Groton-Dunstable totally controlled the remainder of the first quarter by scoring 11 unanswered points to build an 11-5 advantage. Towle (seven points) and Meijer (four points) did all the damage during the run as they were solid inside the paint on both ends of the court.
Ayer turned things around in the second quarter as they upped its defensive intensity and fought back into the game. Poitras opened the quarter with a fast-break lay-up. Farrington connected on three free throws before Poitras finished off a 7-0 run with another fast-break lay-up, off a feed from Peck, to put the Lady Panthers on top 12-11.
Groton-Dunstable regained the lead at 14-13 when Meijer buried a 15-footer, but two free throws by Christy sent the Lady Panthers to intermission with a 15-14 lead.
The Lady Panthers maintained their momentum to open the third quarter. Hardgraves took a lead pass from Poitras to score at the end of a fast break, and added a free throw for a conventional three-point play and an 18-14 lead. When Poitras scored on a lay-up, Ayer led 20-14.
Twice in the third quarter, Groton-Dunstable drew to within four points, the second time at 22-18 when Mattson scored on a strong drive. But Ayer finished the quarter with a 6-0 burst to open up the lead to 28-18 entering the fourth quarter. Peck drained a 15-footer, Poitras hauled down an offensive rebound and converted, before Farrington’s follow-up basket put the Lady Panthers on top by double digits.
Towle sliced the lead to eight when she opened the fourth quarter with a lay-up, but Ayer bounced back with a pair of free throws by Fillebrown, and a follow-up basket by Farrington to take command at 32-20. Ayer had 11 offensive rebounds in the game, which proved to be a pivotal part of the outcome.
Ginger Gamelin (two steals) and Josslen Morris both played hard off the bench for the Lady Panthers.
Groton-Dunstable guard Cate Cullen also worked hard, picking up four steals and three rebounds, while Leanne Mueller (three rebounds) and Meredith Shea played with energy and hustled throughout the contest.
Both teams worked hard defensively in the intense heat as Groton-Dunstable picked up nine steals and Ayer had eight.