Dover quietly turning some heads
Watch the best plays of the week from YAIAA basketball games captured by GameTime reporters. Jim Seip, GameTimePA.com
Like so many other teams, the Dover boys' basketball team picked a mantra to rally around at the beginning of the season.
And this year, the Eagles didn't need to look any further than some local media outlets. Head coach Brian Schmoyer said the team was overlooked in preseason basketball coverage.
"I read through it five times and I still didn't see Dover mentioned, I felt a little disrespected and upset," said Schmoyer, who recently eclipsed the 150 win plateau.
"So, we just came up with the motto, 'Make people believers and turn some heads.'"
Dover certainly has done that this year.
The Eagles' roster doesn't include any seniors. Yet they managed to ride the efforts of underclassmen to the team's first YAIAA Division II title since 2011-12.
"I think they have made people believers of them and showed they are a good team," Schmoyer said. "I told the guys at the beginning of the season, you have two scrimmages and you're varsity players. We aren't using youth as an excuse."
"At the beginning of the season, I think being young fired us up," sophomore Keith Davis said.
Before the season, Dover set the goals of winning the division, reaching the YAIAA playoffs and earning a berth in districts.
So far, two of those goals have been achieved. The Eagles went 10-2 in Division II to win the title and qualify for the league tournament. With a 14-8 overall record, they currently sit at 14th in the District 3 Class 5A rankings, where the top 16 teams make the tournament.
The Eagles take on Central York in the YAIAA tournament quarterfinals at 7:30 p.m. Saturday at Red Lion.
"We have had guys step up. We're playing six guys and are extremely young. Our guys are doing a great job of playing their role," Schmoyer said.
Four of the Eagles — Elijah Sutton, Victor Dorm, Brady Bowman and Davis — are averaging double figures.
"It's not just one guy," Schmoyer said. "During the Ryan Beck era and then with Najah Fink, we had one guy around 19-20 points per game, and now we're spreading the wealth around. Not once have these guys asked me how many points they have had or to see the stat sheet. It's always been about winning. They don't care who scores."
Take Friday, for example, when the Eagles claimed a 79-73 win against division rival Eastern York. Dover jumped out to a 19-point lead, only to see the Golden Knights battle back and take a brief lead in the fourth quarter. But, the young Eagles kept their composure and fought back to claim the victory.
"We keep each other fired up and that's what I love about this team," Davis said after the game. He finished with a game-high 35 points, including seven 3-pointers. "Everybody has each other's back. We pick each other up."
Davis credits the chemistry he has with his fellow sophomores Dorm and Sutton for this year's success.
"We've been playing together since like second grade, and we have fit in with (fellow starters Alan Hansel and Bowman) and we have played together really well," Davis said.
Dover, with no seniors and a thin bench, on its varsity roster, felt comfortable setting big goals.
"That was the expectation," Davis said of claiming the division crown. "We're young, but we still want to do as much as we can this year."