Young Dover boys poised for postseason push
Watch the top YAIAA plays of the week from Jan. 7-13, and then vote for your favorite play. Jim Seip, GameTimePA.com
What a difference a week makes.
After dropping all three of its games in the first week of 2017, the Dover boys' basketball team turned things around this week with a pair of important YAIAA Division II victories.
The Eagles scored a 62-52 win against Eastern York on Wednesday to push into a tie for the divisional lead with the Golden Knights. And they followed that up Friday night with an emotional, 52-48 win against West York.
The victories provided solid experience for a Dover team that starts just one junior, three sophomore and one freshman.
"We're a young team. I told the guys going into this season, we're not going to use youth and inexperience this season," Dover head coach Brian Schmoyer said. "I told them they have two scrimmages, and then they are varsity basketball players. They have accepted that role. As young and inexperienced as we are, we are competing every night."
The Eagles now own a 6-1 record in the division, 9-4 overall, putting them 11th in the District 3 Class 5A power rankings.
With no seniors on the roster, junior Brady Bowman has taken on the role of a veteran leader.
"When all the seniors left, I knew I was going to have to step up big and become a leader and have a big role on the team this year," Bowman said. "I took the younger guys under my wing and told them to be confident and to just shoot their shots."
Bowman has heeded his own advice. Wednesday night against Eastern, he drilled four 3-pointers as the Eagles combined for 11 treys.
"We shot it a lot better tonight," Dover head coach Brian Schmoyer said Wednesday. "Last week in the three games we played, we really struggled shooting the ball. Tonight, we knocked down shots when we needed to."
Bowman and Keith Davis led the scoring charge with 19 points apiece. Sophomores Victor Dorm and Elijah Sutton each scored 11 points, too.
All four of them reached double digits and sank a 3-pointer in Friday's game against West York. They accounted for all of the Eagles scoring, led by Davis' 15-point effort.
"When one of us starts shooting and we get hot, we roll with it and it gets contagious," Bowman said.
The Eagles are also adjusting to some changes on offense.
In the past, "we liked to pound the ball into the post," Schmoyer said. But with no true big man in the middle, "we just don't have that this year," forcing the team to adjust its scheme.
"In games, we have been living and dying with the jump shot," Schmoyer said. "We are trying to do more things to get our guys to attack the basket."
It seems to be clicking at the right moment for the Eagles, who have just two divisional games left on the schedule, both at home. They'll host Gettysburg on Friday and take on Eastern York for Round 2 on Feb. 3. Eastern will once again be without star Jared Achterberg, who suffered a season-ending knee injury Monday night.
If Dover wins its two remaining league games, the Eagles will claim at least a share of the division crown.
"As young as we are, they are a great group," Schmoyer said. "They work hard and soak up everything you tell them. They stick to the game plan and when they play, they compete and play hard. They play aggressive and physical."