Dover's Maxine Herman called it a new beginning.
After a perfect start to the season, the Eagles lost to Dallastown in the semifinals of the YAIAA girls' basketball tournament on Feb. 12.
Then, before the No. 1-seeded Eagles could take the court for Tuesday's first-round game against No. 16 Governor Mifflin in the District 3 Class AAAA tournament, starter Marissa McMahon injured her knee in a recent practice. The Eagles showed they had clearly put their troubles behind them, racing out to a 20 point lead after the first quarter against the Mustangs and earning a 66-46 victory.
"That was a good 32 minutes," Eagles head coach Troy Lokhaiser said. "We started from the get-go with our pressure defense. I think our crowd brought something for us, and I thought we put together a complete game."
The Eagles (24-1) advance to play No. 8 Hershey (20-3) at Carlisle High School at 6 p.m. Friday. Dover beat Hershey 51-46 earlier in the season.
On Tuesday, the Eagles, behind Alayah Hall's 30 points and an aggressive defense, raced out to a 24-4 lead after the first quarter. Dover shot 9-for-15 from the floor in that span and held the Mustangs (14-11) to a 2-for-12 showing.
"We knew we had to play harder than we did (against Dallastown)," Hall said. "We knew we had to do some things differently and just improve."
Governor Mifflin went nearly four minutes between baskets
By halftime, both Hall and the Mustangs each had 21 points as Dover held a commanding 44-21 lead. Dover shot 63 percent from the field in the first half, compared to the Mustangs' 31 percent.
Dover averages 47.3 points per game and eclipsed that mark when Kara Funk (10 points) got a basket with 7:13 to play in the third period.
Also in the third quarter, Hall became just the third Dover girls' basketball player to eclipse the 1,000 point mark. Hall shot 11-for-15 from the field, including knocking down a 3-pointer, and converted 7-of-8 foul shots to get to her season-high 30 points.
The junior did it on an incredible effort play with 3:11 to play in the period, which pushed the lead 59-28.
Hall kept a long inbounds pass barely in play, then fighting off two Mustangs defenders got under the hoop and was fouled as she went up with her shot. The ball went through the hoop and the home crowd went crazy.
"I didn't know what was happening until I was at the foul line," said Hall
Lokhaiser said of Hall, "It's nice that she got it at home. She had quite the performance. I can't say enough adjectives to describe her. She's a super player for us."
Coaches always wonder how their teams will respond to a loss, especially when the first set back doesn't happen until February.
"The good thing was we had a full week off," Lokhaiser said. "We had some really good practices. The last two nights we came into the gym and really went after it and I kind of got a good sense that we were ready to go again tonight."
Herman added, "It didn't take long to get over the loss. We just had to keep fighting. I knew it wasn't over for us. We just had to start over."
Governor Mifflin was led by Emily Gingrich's 12 points.
GOVERNOR MIFFLIN (46)
Conover 0 0-0 0, Martin 0 0-0 0, Koehler 0 1-3 1, Herman 1 0-0 2, Emily Gingrich 5 2-2 12, Megan McKay 4 2-2 10, A. Roulston 0 0-0 0, R. Roulston 4 0-0 8, Brown 2 1-1 6, Dawson 2 0-0 4, Santarelli 0 0-0 0, Kline 1 0-0 3, A. Freeman 0 0-0 0. Totals 19 6-8 46.
Kearse 0 0-0 0, Fox 0 0-0 0, Warner 0 0-0 0, Kara Funk 5 0-2 10, Fowler 2 0-0 4, Lokhaiser 3 0-0 7, Coley 0 0-0 0, Alayah Hall 11 7-8 30, Crossan 2 0-0 6, Herman 4 1-2 9. Totals 27 8-12 66.
Gov. Mifflin 4 17 10 15 -- 46
Dover 24 20 18 4 -- 66
3-point goals -- Gov. Mifflin 2 (Kline, Brown); Dover 4 (Crossan 2, Hall, Lokhaiser).