CARLISLE -- The Dover girls' basketball team rode a roller coaster of emotions Friday night in a District 3 Class AAAA quarterfinal.The Eagles weathered poor shooting in the first half, rallied from a fourth quarter deficit and gave up the lead later in the quarter before finally beating Hershey, 41-38, in overtime at Gene Evans Gymnasium in Carlisle.
Dover's prize for winning?
A matchup with No. 4 Central Dauphin (19-5) in the semifinals at Giant Center in Hershey on Monday at 5 p.m. The Rams beat Manheim Township, 84-78, in triple overtime.
Monday will mark the Eagles' first appearance at the 11-year old home of the Hershey Bears.
"We don't care who we have to play, we'll play anyone, we're happy to still be playing," said Dover head coach Troy Lokhaiser, whose top-seeded team improved to 25-1. "The girls' goal all season was to get to the Giant Center and we've finally got there."
The victory also ensures Dover of a berth in the PIAA Class AAAA tournament.
Both teams dealt with turnovers and poor shooting in the first half as the game was contested at a frenetic pace. They combined to shoot 10-of-43 from the field and had 24 turnovers in the first half.
Dover trailed by as many as six in the first half before a late spurt cut the deficit to 15-13 at halftime. The last basket of the half came at the buzzer as Alayah Hall scored her first two points of the game.
"It helped my confidence a lot," Hall said of scoring right before the half. "And, we were only down two (points) then at halftime."
Hall started to come alive in the third quarter with a pair of baskets.
The teams entered the fourth quarter tied, 22-22.Hershey (20-4) took a 32-28 lead with 3:18 left in regulation following Victoria Blackburn's back-to-back field goals, before Hall answered with the next six to put Dover in front, 34-32, with 50 seconds to go.
Blackburn was off the mark on a pair of free throws with 38.1 seconds left, but a Dover turnover gave the Trojans a chance to pull even.
Following a timeout, Hershey had possession under the hoop and Blackburn's beautiful bounce pass found Libby Nolan resulted in the tying points with 12 seconds to go.
Dover chose to not call a timeout and put the ball in Hall's hands. The junior drove into the lane and put up a floater that caught the front rim, but couldn't make it over.
With the game tied at 36, Dover worked 90 seconds off the clock before Hall drove and was fouled. She split the free throws, then split another pair following a Hershey turnover.
Maxine Herman corralled a miss by Blackburn and made a pair of free throws with 33.8 seconds left before Nolan's bucket with 20 ticks to go sliced it to 40-38.
Hall once again split a pair of free throws with 10.7 seconds left and Hershey had possession along the left sideline after a Dover player knocked the ball out of bounds.
Blackburn found herself wide open in the left corner with a chance to tie and her shot touched every part of the rim before falling out. The ball went out of bounds following a scramble and Hershey had one more chance, but Bridget Kilgallen's try from the top of the key was off the mark.
"This was a battle of two very good teams going at it," Lokhaiser said. "Two very good defensive teams that obviously scouted each other very well. We both knew what the other team was trying to do."
Dover also took the other meeting between the schools, a 51-46 win on Dec 7 in the Northern Tip-Off Tournament.
"I said yesterday at practice that they're a better team than they were the first time we played them," Lokhaiser said, "but we're a better team, too."
Despite scoring just two points in the first half, Hall finished with a game-high 19 points, grabbed four rebounds and dished out four assists.
"Alayah tries to get everyone involved," Lokhaiser said. "They took the drive away from us in the first half, but she started playing her game in the second half."
"I had to do what I had to do to help the team win," Hall said. "They got up on me in the second half, and that allowed me to start driving to the basket."
Blackburn led the Trojans with 18 points, pulled down five rebounds and had four assists, while Nolan scored seven points and collected a game-high 12 rebounds.
Kilgallen 1 0-0 2, Bruggemeier 0 0-0 0, Grace 0 0-0 0, Victoria Blackburn 6 5-8 18, G. Blackburn 1 0-1 2, Chroscinski 4 1-2 9, Kirk 0 0-0 0, Nolan 3 1-2 7. Totals 15 7-13 38.
Fox 0 0-0 0, Kara Funk 3 4-6 11, Fowler 2 2-2 6, Lokhaiser 0 0-0 0, Alayah Hall 5 9-12 19, Crossan 0 0-0 0, Herman 1 3-4 5. Totals 11 18-24 41.
Hershey 11 4 7 12 4 -- 38
Dover 5 8 9 12 7 -- 41
Three-Point Goals -- Hershey 1 (V. Blackburn); Dover 1 (Funk)