DOVER -- Perhaps there will be many more difficult challenges that still lie ahead for the Dover girls' basketball team come playoff time.
If there are, however, it's not likely to be anything like the grueling three-game stretch the Eagles just completed against some of the best teams throughout the entire York-Adams League.
While that question is still up for debate, one thing is now crystal clear: the Eagles will be the team to beat come next month's league playoffs.
After downing both Dallastown and West York last week on their home court, the hosts made it 3-for-3 against the top teams from Division I. Junior Alayah Hall's layin with 4.3 seconds left was the game-winning basket as the Eagles survived a scare from an intense Red Lion squad with a 43-41 victory.
Along with Dallastown's victory over Susquehannock Monday night, the Dover girls secured at least a share of the program's first-ever division title with the triumph. The win also kept Lokhaiser's club unbeaten on the season at 16-0 overall and 10-0 in the league.
"I can't say that we expected (this run)," Lokhaiser said. "But certainly we're happy to get those three victories. I told the girls up in the locker room that it's been a great two weeks for us on top of a great season so far."
After Red Lion's Morgan Kuehne squared the game at 41-all with a 13-foot jumper with 26.3 seconds left, the Lions nearly had a steal near mid-court to gain possession in the closing seconds. The official closest to the ball, however, instead called Red Lion's Kasey Seitz for a travel.
"The ball was a jump ball before it was a walk," said Red Lion coach Don Dimoff, who made it clear that he was less-than-thrilled with the league's move to a three-man officiating crew this season.
Hall delivers in clutch: That call gave the Eagles possession near mid-court and set up Hall for one more miraculous basket in what is becoming a fairy-tale season. Hall took the inbounds pass and drove left on Lion standout Jenny Horvatinovic. The Eagle junior got by Horvatinovic and drove all the way for an uncontested layup with 4.3 seconds remaining.
"She was just playing my right," Hall said of Horvatinovic. "So I just drove left and my left was open."
While Dimoff was critical of the way the game was officiated, he nevertheless gave credit to the home team for making all the big plays when it needed them.
"Dover hit some big shots," Dimoff said. "Hall made a heck of a shot there at the end. And credit to her."
The Lions were fouled bringing the ball up the court with 2.5 seconds left and were unable to get a decent shot off at the buzzer.
"It was tough to get the shot off because it was a little too deep," said Dimoff. "But it should have never got to that point."
Eagles hit homestretch: Now with just four league and six overall contests remaining before the playoffs begin, Lokhaiser knows that his players can't just sit back and enjoy themselves.
Not that he feels his young, but remarkably poised squad would act in such a manner.
"You can ask any one of my girls," Lokhaiser said. "Wednesday night we have Suburban down there and that's going to be tough. Certainly these three were good wins, but the next one is just as important for us."
Hall led the Eagles with 13 points, while Funk knocked down some big shots en route to 12 points while mostly handling the ball against the Red Lion pressure. Those two were also aided by teammates Marissa McMahon and Maxine Herman, who added eight points apiece in the triumph.
"Alayah certainly drives the ship on most nights for us, but we have a great group here," Lokhaiser said. "They play well together and at any time, any one of them could step up and have a great night."
Kuehne led all scorers with a game-high 15 points while Horvatinovic finished with 10 points for the Lions (10-6 overall, 7-3 Division I).
OTHER GIRLS' BASKETBALL
YORK CATHOLIC 63, KENNARD-DALE 40: At York Catholic, three players finished in double figures to highlight the Fighting Irish's 14th victory in a row. Morgan Klunk led the winners with 15 points, while Deanna Chesko and Zaenna Echevarria added 10 points apiece. Sara Tarbert had a tremendous game for Kennard-Dale accounting for 30 of her team's 40 points.
NEW OXFORD 41, YORK SUBURBAN 36: At New Oxford, the Colonials built a 13-point lead through three quarters and held off a rallying York Suburban in the fourth quarter to win the crossover game. Emily Clinton and Lindsey Miller combined for 23 points for New Oxford. Alexis Mailman was York Suburban's only double-figure scorer with 12 points.
HANOVER 51, YORK HIGH 44: At Hanover, York High's Chyna Steele poured in 32 points, but the Hawkettes used a 22-9 advantage at the foul line to turn back the Bearcats. Tracy Soukaina led Hanover with 18 points, and Shelby Barnes added 11 points for the winners.
EASTERN 57, FAIRFIELD 13: At Wrightsville, Elizabeth Myers, Lauren Beaver and Morgan Thomas combined for 32 Golden Knights' points. Eastern improved its York-Adams Division II record to 7-2 and overall mark to 12-5.
WEST YORK 48, NORTHEASTERN 39: At Manchester, West York outscored Northeastern, 12-6, in the fourth quarter to seal the crossover victory. No other information was provided.
SPRING GROVE 48, CENTRAL 42: At Spring Grove, the Rockets led by just one entering the final quarter (32-31) and hung on for the York-Adams League divisional cross-over victory. Morgan Arden led the Rockets with a game-high 25 points, including three from behind the arc. For the Panthers, Alexis Blanda led the visitors with a team-high 16 points. With the victory, Spring Grove improves to 4-6 in Division II and 8-8 overall, while Central falls to 3-7 in Division I and 6-9 overall.
--Ryan Vandersloot can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.