DOVER -- If there was ever a "good time" for an opponent to face the Dover girls' basketball team, Wednesday night may have been it.
Coach Troy Lokhaiser's club was coming off its first regular-season loss in nearly two years -- a 42-40 setback against Red Lion last Friday. Add in some weather-related delays, which prevented the Dover girls from practicing the past few nights, and few would have been surprised if the Eagles looked a bit rusty.
While those could have been easy excuses, the York-Adams League Division II leaders would have none of it when they hosted a Spring Grove club that entered the contest on a six-game winning-streak.
A basket by senior Maxine Herman broke an early 5-5 tie in the first period. From that point on, the Eagles never looked back and handled the Rockets with surprising ease, 55-35.
"We started out a bit slow, but we were off school (Tuesday) and today," said Lokhaiser, whose club improved to 14-1 overall and 9-1 in the division. "The girls were out of their element a bit, but after that we got it rolling."
Don't count Spring Grove coach Gerry Rohrbaugh as one of those who believed his team may have caught a bit of good timing.
Oh, no," he said. "This was probably a bad time. I thought about that today at work. I said, 'man, they're coming off that loss on Friday and they're going to come out hungry.' It was iffy there in the first quarter, but then they started hitting shots."
Herman was key in the first half on both ends of the court. She scored all 10 of her points over the first 16 minutes while also earning the tough job of guarding Spring Grove standout Morgan Arden. While Arden finished with 18 points, it was nearly five below her league-leading 23.3 points-per-game average.
"Max had an excellent effort tonight," Lokhaiser said. "She guarded Arden and I think she did a very admirable job. And I know she was driving to the basket for us tonight."
While Herman was held without a point in the second half, it wasn't really needed when star guard Alayah Hall found a rhythm. The all-time female leading scorer in Dover history torched the nets for a game-high 26 points, 16 of which came in the second half. Those points helped the home team extend a 26-20 lead at the intermission to 40-29 by the end of the third period.
"She was big tonight," Lokhaiser said. "She was knocking down shots from the outside (four 3-pointers) and making free throws (8-of-10) tonight. It was one of her better games, certainly."
"She's tough," he said. "There isn't much you can do about it."
Late in the first half, the Rockets cut the Dover lead to a point (21-20) only to have Herman score on an offensive rebound before Hall knocked down a 3-pointer at the buzzer. Hall then fueled a 7-2 run to begin the second half with five more points that stretched the lead to double digits (33-22).
Perhaps the final dagger came after Arden scored on an old-fashioned 3-point play that cut the deficit to 35-27 late in the third quarter. Hall responded with a clutch triple and capped off the period with another buzzer-beating jumper.
All Rohrbaugh could do was sigh.
"It just wasn't our night," said Rohrbaugh, whose team will face the Eagles again next Monday. "We'd cut it down to six or eight points and the next thing you know we're down 11 or 12."
Lindsey Fowler also hit double digits for Dover with 10 points.
Spring Grove dropped to 10-6 overall and 5-5 in the division.
-- Reach Ryan Vandersloot at firstname.lastname@example.org.