By MATT GOUL
HANOVER -- Dover's players and coaches knew what it was like to be in Bishop Shanahan's position.
First time in the PIAA Class AAAA girls basketball tournament with a long drive of at least two hours to get there.
That difference in experienced showed as Friday night's state tournament opener progressed at South Western High School. Alayah Hall led the Eagles with a game-high 23 points to help turn back Shanaahan, 48-30.
Dover (25-3) advances to Tuesday's second round against District 1 power Mount Saint Joseph at a time and site to be determined.
Facing another foe from that area Friday, the YAIAA champions could not shake Bishop Shanahan (21-7) for the first four minutes. Then Hall took control."We just got out and pressured them a lot,' the senior point guard said. "We played our normal defense.'
Hall's intricate role in that pressing style created four steals. She also grabbed a game-high seven rebounds, a total also pulled in by 5-foot-11 center Marissa McMahon, but a few of Hall's defensive boards meant an up-tempo transition game. It was one in which Fran Burbidge's Eagles struggled to keep pace.
Burbidge made sure he hugged his girls as they exited their locker room under the gymnasium at South Western. The first-year coach will return two starters and a number of players who contributed off the bench. His team's opposition returned all but one player from last year's team, which rallied past West Chester Rustin in the first-round before making the state quarterfinals."We had a little bit of an idea about Dover,' Burbidge said.
Bishop Shanahan shot just 2-of-18 from behind the 3-point arc, mostly trying to pull itself back within contention against Dover.
That became tougher as Dover's pressing style changed to a zone, welcoming any long-distance attempts."We knew they could shoot the ball,' Dover coach Troy Lokhaiser said. "When we moved to the 2-3 it seemed to give them a little trouble in the second half.'
Hall also gave her competition trouble, whether it be creating for teammates or finishing herself. Hall broke a 6-6 tie and split the defense before finding Maxine Herman under the hoop. She then set up Megan Lokhaiser for a 3. Finally, Dover's 10-2 run concluded with an end-to-end rebound and score to beat the first-quarter buzzer."I think we had it under control after that,' Hall said.
Dover showed no signs of a letdown after losing to Wilson in its first District 3 title game last weekend. Hall said she did not take anything from that game. Next up is a Mount Saint Joseph team that beat Bishop Shanahan following the Eagles' PIAA clincher in districts."They have three Division-I kids,' Burbidge said. "One's going to Villanova, another's going to Loyola, and they have a sophomore who's going to be a Division-I kid. So they're good.'Ciara Forde led Shanahan with six points.
Dover 48, Bishop Shanahan 30
BISHOP SHANAHAN: Briglia 1 1-2 3, Forde 3 0-0 6, Habbel 0 0-0 0, Dreiling 2 1-2 5, Parker 1 0-0 2, Wirshup 1 0-1 3, Phillips 2 0-0 4, Juliana 0 0-0 0, Powers 1 0-0 3, Maxwell 0 0-0 0, Basile 1 0-0 2, Sendi 0 0-0 0, Weir 1 0-0 2. Totals: 13 2-5 30.
DOVER: Hall 6 10-12 23, Herman 3 0-0 6, Lokhaiser 2 0-0 5, Fowler 0 4-4 4, McMahon 3 0-0 6, Crossan 0 0-0 0, Fox 1 1-2 4, Coley 0 0-0 0, Kearse 0 0-0 0, Warner 0 0-0 0. Totals: 15 15-18 48.
Shanahan 8 8 6 9--30
Dover 15 9 11 12—48
3-point goals — Wirshup, Powers, Hall, Lokhaiser, Fox.