DOVER — There’s no doubt that the start of the evening was pretty special for the Dover girls’ basketball team.
The end of it — a 41-33 loss to Susquehannock — was another story.
A couple of Dover players, spearheaded by freshman Gaby Coley, helped put together an emotional tribute for Zach Foller’s 13th birthday. Foller, a sixth grader at Dover Elementary School, suffers from several disorders, including autism.
The girls were heartbroken to find out recently that Foller told his mother he didn’t want a birthday party this year. It stems from an unfortunate incident two years ago when no one showed up for his birthday party at a local bowling center.
So the girls took it upon themselves to create a special night for Foller. In addition to a drive that his mother put together asking for birthday cards to be sent to her son, the Eagles honored Foller before Tuesday’s home contest against Susquehannock.
“A few of the players and their mothers organized it,” said Dover coach Kevin Glover after his team fell to the Warriors. “The girls thought it would be a good idea to show some support for Zach. Everybody signed a ball, the coaching staff included, and we presented him with a game ball. It was all to kind of lift his spirits.”
It was a touching moment that won’t soon be forgotten.
The game: Unfortunately for Glover, neither will the game itself. The game memories won't be as pleasant.
Dover entered the night without the services of senior leader Rayah Fink, who hurt her shoulder in Friday’s victory over Gettysburg. The Eagles then lost the services of freshman guard Sienna Woodyard in the first period.
Things never clicked for the hosts (13-4 overall, 7-4 in York-Adams Division II), who are in a battle with West York and York Suburban for the No. 3 spot in the D-II standings. The Warriors raced out to an early lead and never trailed.
Anna Mahan had a big night for the visitors. She scored 12 of her game-high 18 points in a first half that saw Susquehannock claim a 24-18 advantage at the break.
The Warriors, who are on the verge of clinching the division title after improving to 15-3 overall and 10-1 in D-II, were not able to really put the game away, despite all of Dover’s issues. Eagle guard Rajah Fink was whistled for her fourth foul in the third period, leaving Glover’s team without three starters during crunch time.
The home team was able to somehow keep things close, in spite of that. Fink returned to start the fourth quarter and led her team to within 33-29 after Julie Fox buried a 3-pointer with 4:20 left.
Coach Dave Schreiner’s Susquehannock team, however, was able to bleed the clock away while extending the lead to double figures with just more than a minute remaining.
“I told our kids that there is a difference between being aggressive and making good decisions,” Schreiner said. “I think we were at a point in the second half where we were looking at the basket. We were playing not to lose instead of playing to win. But we did what it took to win. We survived.”
Glover, whose team had to deal with foul trouble all night (17 fouls called against Dover, compared to five against Susquehannock), was nevertheless pleased that his team found ways to remain in it all night.
“I told them that that I loved the way that they fought,” he said. “To the players … I didn’t really have any complaints. They fought through a lot tonight.”
York Catholic 46, Hanover 31: At York Catholic, Jania Wright scored a game-high 11 points to lead the Irish. Katy Rader added 10 points for York Catholic. Hanover was led by Emma Bell’s 10 points. First-place York Catholic improved to 12-4 overall and 9-0 in York-Adams Division III.
Dallastown 59, New Oxford 47: At Dallastown, Sabrina Stough scored 17 of her team-high 18 points in the first half for the Wildcats, who knocked off the York-Adams Division I leaders. Samantha Miller added 12 points and Julia Sutton recorded 11 points for Dallastown. Kaelyn Long led all scorers with a game-high 20 points for New Oxford, which fell to 15-3 overall and 8-2 in D-I. Dallastown is 9-9 and 7-2.
Red Lion 47, Spring Grove 43: At Spring Grove, Amy Maciejewski paced the Lions with 15 points and teammate Hannah Wolf added 13 more. Abbie Marquette led Spring Grove with 10 points.
York Suburban 43, West York 26: At Suburban, the home team pulled away from a 17-17 halftime tie with a 26-9 second-half surge. Ali Reinecker had 16 points to lead Suburban (10-8 overall, 5-6 in York-Adams Division II), while Parker Faircloth-Henise added 10. West York fell to 12-6 and 6-5.
Gettysburg 70, Northeastern 39: At Northeastern, Alana Bortner’s team-high 15 points was the leading force in the Warriors' road win. Kendra Meyer led all scorers with 19 points for Northeastern. Meyer sank four 3-pointers.
Central York 85, York High 28: At York, Nikson Valencik poured in a game-high 28 points and teammate Sarah Sepic added 20 points, including five 3-pointers, to lead the Panthers (16-2 overall), who took over sole possession of first place in York-Adams Division I at 8-1.
Red Lion Christian 44, Lebanon Christian 31: At Red Lion Christian, Destiny Hollingshead had 16 points and 10 rebounds to lead the home team. Teammate Allie Damiano scored 10 points. RLC improved to 9-4.
Harrisburg Christian 34, Christian School of York 25: At York, Anna Cardillo’s game-high 15 points helped Harrisburg Christian to the road victory. Leading the way for Christian School of York was Kathryn Larson with nine points.
Eastern York 38, Kennard-Dale 30: At Fawn Grove, the Golden Knights improved to 13-5 overall and 9-2 in York-Adams Division II. No other details were reported.
Reach Ryan Vandersloot at email@example.com.