There weren’t many teams that surprised more York County high school fans early this season than the Dover girls’ basketball squad.
The Eagles were coming off a 6-16 season in 2015-2016, but led by the Fink sisters — Rayah and Rajah — they got off to a very quick start in the 2016-2017 campaign.
Big victories over West York and York Catholic propelled coach Kevin Glover’s team to an 11-1 record that had Dover in a three-way tie atop the York-Adams Division II standings.
After back-to-back losses this past week against Eastern York and West York, however, the Eagles (11-3 overall, 5-3 in Division II) are now tied with the Bulldogs (10-4, 5-3) for third in the division. Both clubs are two games behind co-leaders Eastern (11-3, 7-1) and Susquehannock (11-3, 7-1).
“We have to do better,” Glover said after Friday’s loss to West York. “And we will, starting with practice (Saturday) morning.”
This past week, Dover struggled against unorthodox defenses designed to stop the Finks. Eastern used a triangle-and-two defense that worked extremely well at containing the two sisters, who average nearly 35 points per game combined. West York used something similar Friday.
It’s not as if Glover, who is in his first year leading the Eagles, isn’t expecting opponents to resort to the so-called "junk" defenses. He mentioned that his team expects it every night. To him the issue boils down to execution.
“We still have a shot,” he said about the division title. “We have to refocus and get our groove back.”
Here come the Wildcats: One thing that should be pretty obvious around the York-Adams League these days is that no game can really be considered a walkover.
Especially in Division I and Division II.
Dover is now on a two-game losing skid. Eastern went through a similar two-game skid two weeks ago.
Then there’s Central York (12-2 overall, 6-1 Division I). The Panthers have impressed nearly everyone this season. After handing rival New Oxford a 29-point loss in a showdown two weeks ago, coach Scott Wisner’s squad was largely considered the area’s best outfit.
One team, however, that has been often overlooked so far this year is catching up fast — Dallastown.
The Wildcats got off to a rough 2-6 start. Their early schedule, however, had to be among the most brutal in the area. Teams such as Governor Mifflin (11-1), Central York, Hempfield (8-4), New Oxford (12-2) and Lower Dauphin (9-4) are all District 3 playoff contenders in either Class 6-A or Class 5-A,.
Playing those games certainly helped prepare the Wildcats as the season starts to wind down. Coach Jay Rexroth’s club has caught fire. Dallastown recently extended its winning streak to five games since the New Year, and the last win was likely the most impressive of all.
The Wildcats knocked off the Panthers, 43-42, Friday behind a 20-point performance from standout Julia Sutton. Rexroth’s team is now just a game behind Central and New Oxford (6-1) at 5-2 in the division.
The surge has propelled Dallastown all the way up to 11th in the District 3 6-A ratings.
Coming up: Monday evening has the first of several dandy showdowns coming up this week, when Eastern travels to Central.
It wouldn’t be a stretch to say that Monday's contest might get replayed again come York-Adams League playoff time.
Tuesday brings a clash of up-and-comers when West York travels to Dallastown. The Bulldogs are coming off an upset over rival Dover Friday, while the Wildcats are doing the same after knocking off Central.
Wednesday offers another big-time clash when Eastern visits Susquehannock. The Knights handed the Warriors their only divisional loss this season back on Dec. 16. You can expect both sides to be charged up, with sole possession of first-place on the line.
Redman still leading the way: York High senior Madey "Bink" Redman continues to fill up the score sheet every night.
Redman leads the league in scoring at 19.2 points per game.
Dover junior Rajah Fink is right behind her at 18.8 points a contest, while York Catholic junior Kate Bauhof is third at 17.5 points per game.
Reach Ryan Vandersloot at email@example.com.