DOVER — Dover girls’ basketball coach Kevin Glover wasn't too displeased to see that his team was overlooked in some of the preseason previews for the 2016-17 York-Adams League season.
A few down years will do that to a program, even though it's only three years removed from being one of the best teams in the area.
As early as May, however, Glover knew that he was getting into something that had the potential to be quite good. The first-year coach saw a lot of hard work and discipline during the summer, when his team was getting ready for this season.
A healthy and hungry Rajah Fink didn’t hurt either. The junior guard led the team in scoring a year ago at 10.8 points a game. Both Glover and Fink knew it could get better. The evidence of that, while still quite early, has been apparent for a Dover squad that battled rival West York in a clash of early-season unbeatens Tuesday evening. Fink was already averaging 14.5 points a night during the squad’s 2-0 start.
That average ticked up a bit after Fink carried her team against the Bulldogs. She poured in a game-high 16 points, half of which came during a second period when the Eagles outscored the visitors 15-4, which led Dover to an impressive 48-30 triumph.
“She’s a handful,” West York coach Darrell Wildasin said of Fink.
That was probably an understatement. The junior also grabbed a game-high eight rebounds while adding a handful of assists in a dominating effort. Some whispers around the gym could be heard comparing Fink to the school’s all-time leading scorer, Alayah Hall, who is now excelling for Millersville University.
“She’s that kind of player,” Glover said. “When she gets it going, she’s pretty much unstoppable. She’s still a young kid, but she plays the game hard.”
That was certainly the case in the second period. After West York (2-1 overall, 0-1 in York-Adams Division II) raced out to an 11-6 advantage late in the first quarter, Fink paced the Eagles on a 9-0 run to take control.
Fink, however, had help. Gabrielle Coley, just a freshman, scored five of her nine points in the second stanza to help Dover (3-0, 1-0) claim a 23-15 advantage by the half.
“I think we were kind of nervous,” Fink said of her team’s slow start. “We’ve been practicing hard and then we just realized that we got this. We’re prepared for it.”
While the Bulldogs did a nice job in containing Fink’s older sister, Rayah, for much of the night, the combination of both Fink sisters on the court at once has been a key to Dover’s early success. Rayah, who sat out most of last season with a leg injury, entered the night leading the team in scoring at 18.5 points a game, but was held to just eight in the victory.
Rayah has also been impressed so far with Glover, who is her third head coach in three years on the varsity club. The smile on her face was all that was needed to be said about her feelings with Glover. Or maybe it was because she knew she was about to poke a bit of fun at her coach’s expense.
“He’s like a rock,” Rajah Fink said. “But not a big rock, because he’s not that tall. (Laughs). But he motivates us to do better and he really builds our confidence up.”
While Fink was all smiles afterward, Wildasin will likely need some time to get over Tuesday’s setback. His team was dominated on the boards (37-28). The Bulldogs also committed an unsightly 19 turnovers while connecting on just 9 of 39 shots (23 percent).
It was a recipe for a loss for a West York club that looked very good after winning the school’s tip-off tournament over the weekend.
“I don’t know,” Wildasin said. “I’m not sure what happened. They (Dover) did a good job defensively on us and we didn’t get a lot of open looks, but when we did we couldn’t make them and that’s a bit of a problem there.”
The one bright spot for the visitors was Paige Weekly. The junior led the Bulldogs with 11 points and six rebounds.
Susquehannock 47, York Suburban 31: At Glen Rock, Jaden Walker’s 15 points pushed the Warriors past the Trojans. Jayla Galbreath added 13 points. Ali Reinecker (11) and Georgia DuMars (10) each scored in double figures for Suburban.
Central York 65, Dallastown 48: At Central York, the Panthers had five players score eight or more points. Leading the way for the home team was Nikson Valencik with 19 points. Teammate Emma Saxton added 14. Sabria Royal scored 11 points and Lily Jamison had 10 points for Dallastown.
New Oxford 76, York High 39: At York, Kaelyn Long poured in 22 points and teammate Haley Luckabaugh added 12 for the Colonials. Ma’Dey-Zania Redman led York High with 18 points.
Gettysburg 42, Kennard-Dale 33: At Gettysburg, Alana Bortner’s 21 points pushed the Warriors past the Rams. Megan Halczuk posted 10 points to lead K-D.
Eastern York 73, Northeastern 38: At Manchester, Hannah Myers dropped 24 points to lead Eastern, while Addison Malone chipped in 11 and Brooke LaCesa added 10. Kendra Meyer led Northeastern with 12 points and Amara Bitting had 10.
Red Lion Christian 48, Heritage Christian 11: At Red Lion, the RLC girls allowed just five points through the first three quarters. Destiny Hollingshead led RLC with 20 points, while Allie Damiano had 10. RLC is now 5-0.
Christian School of York 49, Covenant Christian 14: At York, Kendis Butler led the Crusaders with 23 points, including six from behind the arc. Teammate Mekenzie Smith knocked in 14 points.
South Western 47, Spring Grove 27: At Hanover, the home team rolled to the win. Taylor Geiman had 13 points for the winners.
Reach Ryan Vandersloot at firstname.lastname@example.org.