HERSHEY -- There were no jitters of playing at Hershey's Giant Center for the first time.

 

There was no intimidation of facing of a team that had three starters standing 5-foot-11 or taller.

For the first 16 minutes of Monday's District 3 Class AAAA semifinal between Dover and Central Dauphin, the Eagles simply did what had worked for them all season en route to being the tournament's top seed.

They shot well. They attacked the offensive and defensive glass. They played outstanding defense.

All of which led to a four-point Eagles lead at halftime.

But, the second half was a completely different story.

Dover faced constant defensive pressure and turned the ball over. The Eagles missed 21shots as their legs got heavy over the final 16 minutes.

Dover scored just 14 second-half points and fell to the No. 4 Rams, 52-39. CD advances to Friday's title game against either No. 2 Wilson or No. 6 Central Dauphin East. Wilson and CD East play at 5 p.m. tonight at Giant Center.

The Eagles (25-2) will play the loser of that Wilson and CD East game in a third-place game Thursday at a site and time to be determined. The game will be used for seeding purposes for the upcoming PIAA tournament.

"We had some good looks in the third quarter and we just couldn't knock them down," Dover head coach Troy Lokhaiser said. "We knew getting layups and shots in the paint would be tough with how big they were. We needed to make some jumpers and we did in the first half."

The Eagles shot 10-of-21 in the first half, but just 4-for-25 in the second half. Dover committed 26 total turnovers, including 10 in the third quarter alone.

"The pressure (defense) I thought gave us a little trouble at times," Lokhaiser said. "We were getting a little tired at a point too. They have a real nice team. When you have three 6-footers in the paint, it makes it tough for anybody."

The Eagles held an 18-11 lead after the first quarter and scored just seven points in the second, but still held a 25-21 lead at halftime.

"I can't be prouder of what I saw out of our team in the first half," an emotional Lokhaiser said. "For the first time stepping on this floor, they made a good account of themselves"

Dover, making its first ever trip to the district semis and new to the Class AAAA scene, also impressed the four-time district champion Rams.

"They're probably one of the better teams we've played so far this year," Rams head coach Karen Hicks said. "When we made a mistake, they really spanked us for it."

The Rams (20-5) committed 27 turnovers, but used a strong third quarter to turn the game around.

CD shot 7-for-12 in the third quarter, forced 10 Dover turnovers and held the Eagles to just four points.

"I think we tired them down," Hicks said of the third quarter. "I don't think they were used to that kind of pressure defense for four quarters."

Dover played their five starters most of the game with Brianna Crossan and Holly Fox coming off the bench at points. Lokhaiser emptied the rest of the bench with less than a minute to play in the game, giving everybody a chance to take in the Giant Center aura.

"It was really fun," Dover's Alayah Hall said of playing at the home of the Hershey Bears. "We tried our hardest."

Hall led the Eagles with 11 points and Kara Funk added 10.

Central Dauphin was led by Precious Martin's 17 points and Shatara Parsons' 15.

  
CENTRAL DAUPHIN (52)
   Weaver 2 0-0 4, Hartwick 0 3-4 3, Stouffer 1 0-0 2, Shatara Parsons 6 3-4 15, Hatcher 3 1-2 7, Davis 0 0-0 0, Precious Martin 5 7-8 17, Pe. Martin 0 0-0 0, Lesko 2 0-0 4. Totals 19 14-18 52.
DOVER (39)
   Kearse 0 0-0 0, Fox 0 0-0 0, Warner 0 0-0 0, Kara Funk 3 2-4 10, Fowler 2 0-0 4, Lokhaiser 2 1-2 6, Coley 0 0-0 0, Alayah Hall 3 4-7 11, Crossan 0 0-0 0, Herman 4 0-0 8.Totals 14 7-13 39.
Central Dauphin   11  10  16  15 -- 52
Dover   18    7    4  10 -- 39
3-point goals -- Dover 4 (Funk 2, Lokhaiser, Hall).