SPRING GROVE — Without their head coach and the York-Adams League’s leading scorer, the Dover girls’ basketball team was at a severe disadvantage on Wednesday, Jan. 3.
Facing an up-and-coming Spring Grove team on the road, the Eagles put aside any internal troubles with the program early on against the Rockets. Taking an 11-point lead early in the second quarter, the visitors appeared to be doing just fine without head coach Kevin Glover and senior standout Rajah Fink.
The good mojo under interim head coach Tyler Smith didn’t last too much longer, though.
After a big 3-pointer by sophomore Haley Wagman kick-started the Rockets out of a long drought, the home team picked up the pressure defensively. Led by several steals from guard Maddie Hagerman, Spring Grove was able to rally and take the lead late in the first half.
That surge by the Rockets continued into the second half, and Spring Grove rebounded from its first loss of the season last week to claim a 44-25 victory over the Eagles.
Smith didn’t want to make any excuses for his team’s struggles Wednesday.
“I’ll coach with five girls on the floor,” Smith said. “(Whoever) those five girls (are). I was proud of the way our ladies stepped up for a quarter and a half. We definitely could have finished the game better.”
Smith declined to answer several questions about the coaching change. He would only confirm that he’s been leading the program for the past two weeks. That includes the team’s last game, a 59-56 loss against Reading before the new year.
Fink, who leads the league in scoring at 24.3 points per game, played in that game against Reading. She scored 37 points in the setback, but she was not in uniform nor on the bench for the contest. Her name was also not included in the team’s scorebook either.
“No comment,” was the only thing that Smith would say about Fink’s status.
The Eagles, however, appeared to be just fine without the Indiana University of Pennsylvania recruit early on. The Dover defense limited the Rockets to just a single point over the first eight minutes. The Eagles (4-5 overall) pushed their advantage to as much as 11 points (12-1) with 5:30 left to play in the first half.
After Wagman (15 points) hit the first of her five 3-pointers a minute later, the Rockets (9-1) were off and running. Hagerman got her hands on several inbounds plays which brought about a flurry of quick lay-ins to draw the Rockets closer.
By the one-minute mark, the hosts took their first lead of the night at 16-14, a lead they would not relinquish.
“It was our first day back to school and we were still getting used to the routine,” Spring Grove coach Holly Strait said. “But that’s not an excuse. Our shot was off, but we just had to keep shooting. The only way we’re going to score is if we keep shooting.”
Wagman knocked down two of her team’s three 3-pointers in the second quarter that helped fuel the comeback.
“Coach told us to just stick with it,” Wagman said. “Just keep shooting and they’ll eventually fall. And we needed to attack the basket more and we did.”
Hagerman’s quick hands proved invaluable during a 17-3 run that helped the home team claim an 18-15 lead by the intermission.
“Maddie is our sparkplug,” Strait said. “She just got steal after steal after steal. She was all over the floor.”
Baylen Snyder led the Eagles with 12 points in the setback.
Eastern York 57, Susquehannock 53: At Glen Rock, the Golden Knights handed Susquehannock its first loss of the season in a York-Adams Division II battle. Addy Malone (18 points), Hannah Myers (14) and Cass Arnold (10) each hit double digits for the winners. Susquehannock was led by 15 points each from Jaden Walker and Jayla Galbreath and 12 points from Anna Mahan. Susquehannock fell to 7-1 overall and 3-1 in D-II. Eastern improved to 5-4 and 2-2.
Dallastown 50, York Catholic 48: At Dallastown, York Catholic led at the half, 27-17, but Dallastown used a 33-21 second-half surge to grab the win. Julia Sutton pumped in 26 points to pace the Wildcats, including 19 in the second half. Lily Jamison added 11 for the winners. Abby Pilkey's 17 points led the Irish.
Central York 43, Red Lion 24: At Red Lion, Nikson Valencik and Sarah Sepic each had nine points to lead the Panthers to the win in a defensive struggle. Kayla Johnson had eight points for Red Lion. Central improved to 7-2 overall and 3-0 in York-Adams Division I.
Solanco 52, York Suburban 42: At Solanco, Alyssa Hocker scored 11 points in the non-league loss.
Reach Ryan Vandersloot at email@example.com.