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Crusaders Reach Clark Semi-finals

Third seed Groton-Dunstable (14-6, 7-3), hoping to reach the finals for the fourth year in a row, took a step in the right direction with a convincing 63-43 over sixth seed Lunenburg (12-7, 7-5) in the Large School quarter-finals of the 73rd Annual Clark Tournament. on Monday afternoon.

Senior captains Will Peregoy and Kyle Romich led the Crusaders' balanced attack with 14 points and 11 points respectively. Romich just missed a triple double with double figure scoring, 11 rebounds and nine assists.

Liam Barberich (13 pts.) was immense grabbing 17 rebounds. We will have to speak to Liam about sharing!

"He (Barberich) was awesome," exuded GD coach Keith Woods. "Liam has good hands, size, excellent basketball sense, and just has a knack for being in position."

Romich shared Woods' praise for his teammate, "Liam is such a big factor for our team with his shooting and rebounding."

"Ben Chilcoat (10 pts., 2 rebs.) defensed their number one scorer number14 (Ryan Corcoran), holding him to six points," continued Woods. "Ben knows what to do. He's played with this group for years. His addition into the line-up has the team playing well after our mid-season hiccup."

Romich hit the first shot of the game from beyond the arc but Nijai Hamberg stuck a three of his own to fuel a Blue Knights 9-0 run. A Peregoy triple and a Barberich finish in the lane closed the advantage but Luneburg still held a 19-16 lead after one. "Maybe we were nervous," said Baberich. "But they shot very well."

A look at the score sheet tells the tale in the second. Lunenburg scored a bucket to go up five before GD exploded, with bombs from Barberich and Aaron Honkonen, starting a 20-2 run and eventual 36-23 halftime lead. With quarterback Romich pushing the ball up court hard, look-a-way passes, fast break points, Lunenburg was in trouble. How many other teams have a point guard that scores, hands out assists and is one of the leading rebounders for the team?

"They were shooting well so we switched to man-man in the second and they (Lunenburg) could not handle it," praised Woods. "Their press was effective but we were able to adjust. We put in a good effort outrebounding Lunenburg 50-37. I thought we had advantage off the boards," Woods said.

GD led 55-37 early in the fourth on a Peregoy basket from a pretty feed from Romich, and a highlight reel move and finish by Chris McKinney with the 30 second clock running down.

Greg Abare had 11 points, while Nijal Hamberg added 10 for the Blue Knights.

Number two seed Northbridge (16-2), the defending Large School Clark Champion, defeated Auburn 52-38 and will meet GD at 6 p.m. on Thursday in a semifinal game. The Rams defeated the Crusaders in the final last year. "We have some unfinished business," commented coach Woods.

Groton Herald

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