DOVER — A night after the Philadelphia Eagles pulled off an upset in Super Bowl 52, the Dover Eagles girls’ basketball team was hoping to follow suit on Monday, Feb. 5, against South Western.
With the Mustangs (No. 10) three spots ahead of the Eagles (No. 13) in the latest District 3 Class 5-A power ratings, the Dover girls could certainly use the power ratings points boost from a victory.
Unlike the football Eagles in the Super Bowl, the Dover girls didn't get off to a quick start on their Senior Night. Trailing 9-3 after the first quarter — the identical score that Philadelphia was ahead in the Super Bowl — Dover eventually found itself down by 10 points with just 6½ minutes left in the game.
Just like the Philadelphia Eagles rallied for a victory late against the New England Patriots, Dover also found a way to prevail in the fourth quarter. The home team outscored the Mustangs by a dominating 26-9 margin over the final six-plus minutes to claim a 51-44 triumph.
“I think it was Senior Night and all of our girls were pressing a little bit,” Dover coach Tyler Smith said. “We have three (Caylee Hayes, Baylen Snyder and Rajah Fink), and they all started and they all play a ton of minutes for us. So they were excited and they pressed a little bit in front of their families and friends.”
The Mustangs (11-9) led early, then used an 8-0 run after the Eagles (12-9) pulled within 13-11 midway in the second quarter en route to a 23-12 advantage at the break. That advantage remained above six points all the way into the early part of the final stanza before the home team changed the tempo.
Against a more aggressive full-court Dover press, the Mustangs turned the ball over a handful of times to help fuel Dover’s comeback. While Fink, the York-Adams League’s leading scorer at 25.5 points per game, scored around her average by putting up 24 points, Ashley Goebeler helped out her team by picking up her play.
Averaging just more than six points a game, Goebeler poured in 13 of her 15 points in the second half.
“For me, that was the best that I’ve seen Ashley play,” said Smith, who took over as the team’s head coach in late December. “Defensively and, obviously, offensively as well. She had a huge and-one for us there (in the fourth quarter) and she just brought the energy for us all night.”
Geiman leads Mustangs: Junior standout Taylor Geiman was again the spark for the Mustangs. She led the team with 21 points. Geiman, however, was the only South Western player to reach double figures.
The Mustangs' biggest problem wasn’t their scoring. Instead, as head coach Kevin Klunk pointed out, it was their play over the final six minutes.
“We just went brain dead there in the fourth quarter,” Klunk said. “We just couldn’t compose ourselves and we got out-worked. They were just ripping balls out of our hands and getting rebounds. We were just kind of standing around. I don’t know (why), but it’s a shame.”
Coming up: Klunk and his team won’t have a lot of time to fret about Monday’s disappointment. South Western will play host to Dallastown in a Y-A Division I battle on Tuesday, Feb. 6.
While the Mustangs are out of the running for a league playoff berth, the Wildcats can wrap up at least a share of the Division I title, as well as the No. 1 seed in the league playoffs, with a victory.
Smith and his Eagles also have a big Division II game to worry about Tuesday. Dover can clinch a playoff berth with a victory over host York Suburban.
“It’s pretty much a playoff game before the playoffs,” Smith said. “We’re excited.”
Susquehannock 63, Bermudian Springs 31: At Glen Rock, the Warriors improved to 18-3 overall. Jaden Walker (23) and Jayla Galbreath (17) combined for 40 of Susquehannock's points.
Spring Grove 48, Greencastle 26: At Spring Grove, Haley Wagman led the Rockets with a game-high 16 points, including four from behind the arc. Teammate Ellie Glass knocked in 10 points. Spring Grove improved to 15-6 with the non-league win.
Susquehanna Township 51, Eastern 41: At Wrightsville, the host Golden Knights outscored the opposition 20-12 in the final quarter, but it wasn't enough. Lexi Weikert poured in a game-high 21 points to lead Susquehanna Township. Eastern was led by 11 points from Hannah Myers.
Manheim Central 52, Kennard-Dale 43: At Manheim, Jaedyn McKeon scored 12 points and Lexie Kopko added 10 in a losing cause for K-D, which fell to 13-8 overall. Manheim Central improved to 9-12.
Linden Hall 56, Christian School of York 17: At Linden Hall, Kendis Butler had 12 of the Crusaders' 17 points in a losing effort. CSY fell to 15-4. Linden Hall improved to 14-4.
Kennard-Dale 66, Manheim Central 56: At Fawn Grove, freshman Carter Day poured in 22 points and Adam Freese collected 19 points to power the Rams to the non-league victory. Donnell Williams added 11 points for the Rams, who improved to 16-5 overall.
Dover 69, South Western 43: At Hanover, Elijah Sutton poured in 19 points, while Keith Davis (14), Brady Bowman (13) and Alan Hansel (12) also hit double digits. Dover improved to 18-3 overall. Joshua Cuddy led all scorers for South Western with 20 points.
Susquehannock 58, York Suburban 51: At Suburban, Hunter Sentz pumped in 19 points to lead the winners. Will Ogude added 13 for Susquehannock, while Jake Mahan scored 10. Aidan Hughley (16), Willie Batty (11) and Luke Babinchak (10) each hit double digits for Suburban.
Reach Ryan Vandersloot at firstname.lastname@example.org.