Despite a roster that features only two seniors, the Dover Eagles girls’ basketball team is finding success this season while wading the waters of some new experiences.
When you’re a young team still learning how to win consistently, not all of those adventures will be good ones.
Thursday’s game against New Oxford proved to be one of those not-so-good ordeals.
The Eagles, still scratching for a potential York-Adams League playoff spot, let an opportunity to position themselves for postseason play slip away Thursday with a 60-46 home loss to New Oxford.
The Colonials were able to utilize a combination of pressure and patience to frustrate the Eagles, often resulting in costly turnovers and long scoring runs.
“(New Oxford is) a good, quality, veteran team, and it showed,” Dover coach Kevin Glover said. “Playing a lot of younger kids, it was a big game and a big stage for them. But the most important thing for them is to learn from it.”
The shift started in the second quarter with New Oxford trailing 16-12. Haley Luckabaugh hit a 3-pointer before the Colonials regained possession and later took a timeout.
After the break, New Oxford implemented a full-court press against the Eagles, leading to the first signs of frustration. Luckabaugh later punctuated a 15-0 New Oxford run with another triple.
A Caylee Hayes basket for Dover (15-5, 9-4 Division II) halted the run, but by then the Colonials led 27-18.
New Oxford (17-5, 9-3 Division I) was able to further dishearten the Eagles in the second half, when patient offensive possessions wore down Dover’s defense. More full-court pressure resulted in a slew of steals and easy baskets for the Colonials.
An Ashley Goebler triple got the Eagles the closest they would get in the second half at 41-37. However, once New Oxford settled in offensively and ratcheted up the pressure again, they went on an 11-0 run. The Colonials were the beneficiary of five steals during that stretch.
Coming into Thursday, this tilt was billed as a contest between two of league’s top-five scorers. Dover’s Rajah Fink entered the week as the league’s leading scorer with a 17.6 points-per-game average. And New Oxford’s Kaelyn Long began the week in fifth at 15.6 ppg. Long easily got the better of the night, leading all scorers with 19 points. Luckabaugh added 16. Fink was sufficiently stifled and held to three points and six rebounds.
The long-range shooting of Alaina Reaver kept the Eagles competitive. Reaver nailed five shots from beyond the arc for 15 points, many coming in crucial moments when the Colonials looked to be pulling away.
The Eagles currently sit in third place in York-Adams Division II at 9-4. Dover travels to Eastern York (14-7, 10-3) on Friday night for a crucial match-up. The top three teams from the division qualify for the league tournament.
“You don’t see a veteran team like that every night,” Glover said. “It was a good game for us heading into tomorrow’s game, which means a lot. We win tomorrow and we get into the county playoffs.”
Dover is also currently ninth in the District 3 Class 5-A power ratings.
The Colonials (17-5, 9-3 Division I) sit in third place in the District 3 5-A power ratings.
Reach Elijah Armold at firstname.lastname@example.org.