DOVER — In a match-up featuring two of the best girls’ basketball teams in the York-Adams League Wednesday evening, it was a lesser-heralded sophomore who stole the show.
With Eastern York playing a triangle-and-two defense on Dover standouts Rayah and Rajah Fink, and the Eagles doing something similar with Golden Knight standout Hannah Myers, there was ample opportunity for role players on both sides to step up.
Fortunately for Eastern coach Brad Weaver, one of his came through in a big way. Katie Lehman, who entered the night having scored just 49 points all season, poured in 12 off of four big 3-pointers.
Lehman’s contributions, however, were not limited to just scoring. Despite giving up several inches while guarding Rayah Fink, Lehman held the Dover senior scoreless.
Her contributions were not lost on her coach after the Golden Knights left Dover High School with a 53-50 triumph.
Eastern improved to 10-2 overall and 6-1 in Division II to remain tied atop the division. The Knights entered the night in a three-way tie along with Dover, who fell to 11-2 and 5-2, and Susquehannock (10-3, 6-1), which kept pace after beating Northeastern.
“Katie Lehman just did a fantastic job tonight,” Weaver said.
That was perhaps a bit of an understatement. Rayah Fink entered the night averaging 17 points per game, but the Dover senior got into some foul trouble and never found much open space against Lehman.
“We don’t have any seniors, so I wanted to step up to the challenge,” said Lehman, who was all smiles after earning a double hot dog topped completely with sauerkraut after the game. “I just face-guarded her and didn’t let her out of my sight.”
While Lehman’s defense was definitely important, so too was her scoring. She knocked down back-to-back 3s late in the first half that stretched a 21-17 lead to 27-17.
Those points proved essential because Myers, who entered the night averaging 18.8 points a game, was held in check. The Eastern junior still led her team with 15 points, with 11 of them coming in the second half.
Rajah Fink, a junior who led the team in scoring coming in at 19.0 points per game, wasn’t able to find her rhythm until late. The younger Fink scored eight of her 12 points in the fourth quarter to help her team remain within striking distance. She twice drove the length of the floor for lay-ins, the second of which pulled her team to within 52-50 with 14.5 seconds left.
After Myers missed a pair of free throw attempts with 8.6 seconds left, Fink grabbed the rebound. She headed up the court and tried to find a teammate in the lane, but her pass was too long, creating a turnover.
Fink had one last attempt to tie it on a buzzer beater, but her shot was wide right as the horn sounded.
“Our execution and our focus was off tonight,” Dover coach Kevin Glover said. “We come into games expecting a junk defense. Every game. It took us a while to execute our offense against that and we … just didn’t stick to our game.”
With the Fink sisters held more than 20 points below their combined average, the Dover role players stepped up, too. Gabby Coley finished with a game-high 18 points, while Alaina Reaver chipped in 14.
While Weaver and his team will definitely enjoy the victory, the future is challenging. After playing Northeastern (1-13) Friday, the Knights will travel to both Division I-leading Central York and Susquehannock next week.
“We have to take it one game at a time,” Weaver said. “I think I may have been a little guilty of that the night we played (and lost to) Gettysburg. I was maybe looking ahead a little to Delone. So we’re not looking ahead anymore.”
Susquehannock 67, Northeastern 34: At Manchester, Tyler Williams (21), Jayla Galbreath (17) and Jaden Walker (14) combined for 52 points to power the Warriors. Kendra Myers had 12 points for Northeastern. The Warriors improved to 10-3 overall and 6-1 in York-Adams Division II.
West York 38, Kennard-Dale 29: At West York, Paige Weekly (14) and Catie McCarty (13) combined for 27 points of West York's points. Megan Halczuk had 10 for K-D. West York improved to 9-4 overall 4-3 in York-Adams Division II.
Dallastown 51, Red Lion 34: At Dallastown, Julia Sutton poured in a game-high 19 points for the Wildcats. Amy Maciejewski led the Lions with 10 points.
Central York 56, Spring Grove 30: At Spring Grove, Nikson Valencik led the Panthers with 20 points. Teammate Emma Saxman knocked in 13 points. Central improved to 11-1 overall and 6-0 in York-Adams Division I.
York Suburban 41, Gettysburg 27: At York Suburban, Katherine Mooney’s 18 points helped the hosts cruise past the Warriors. Parker Faircloth-Henise added 10 points for the Trojans.
York Catholic 56, Berks Catholic 42: In a non-league game, the home-standing Lady Irish prevailed. York Catholic improved to 8-3 overall. No other details were reported.
Reach Ryan Vandersloot at firstname.lastname@example.org.