When asked how his team was able to bounce back from two district losses and make it to the PIAA Class AAAA girls' basketball quarterfinals, Dover coach Troy Lokhaiser had one answer.
"These girls believe in themselves, no matter what that score is on the board," he said.
That perseverance has helped the Eagles win their first and second state tournament games in school history. They go for No. 3 Friday night in what will be their biggest challenge of all -- District 1 champion Spring-Ford.
Dover and York Catholic's girls are the lone remaining YAIAA basketball teams left in this PIAA postseason. Here's a look at both of their games:
CLASS AAAA QUARTERFINAL
Dover (27-3) vs. Spring-Ford (29-2)
6 p.m. Friday at Garden Spot High School
Scouting the Eagles: A 42-38 winner against Nazareth, Dover continues its first season in Class AAAA with style. While the Eagles' latest win didn't require a double-digit comeback in the second half, they did need to bounce back after giving up an 11-point lead. If junior point guard Alayah Hall can get to the free-throw line -- she was 10-of-14 vs.
Scouting the Rams: The District 1 champs cruised past Wallenpaupack, 58-44, on Tuesday to reach this matchup. The Rams eliminated a familiar Dover foe, Hershey, last Friday with a 59-41 victory shortly after the Eagles' massive comeback against Bayard Rustin. Spring-Ford has won 21 straight and is a little bigger than Dover's last opponent. The Rams feature 5-11 senior Sarah Payonk and 5-10 junior Shelby Mueller on the front line. Guards Sammy Stipa, a junior, and senior Brittany Moore, a 5-5 guard and tough defender, lead the backcourt. Moore had 14 points, including three 3-pointers, in the second-round win.
Up next: The winner gets District 12 champ Cardinal O'Hara or District 3 runner-up Central Dauphin on Tuesday.
CLASS AA QUARTERFINAL
York Catholic (27-2) vs. Pine Grove (24-4)
7 p.m. Friday at East Pennsboro High School
Scouting the Fighting Irish: Some things are just habits, and getting to this point in the postseason is one of them for York Catholic, a 50-39 winner Tuesday against Dunmore. While senior Morgan Klunk has been her steady self, scoring in double digits for all but two games this season, junior guard Zaenna Echevarria has caught fire of late. She had 14 in the District 3 final and 21 Tuesday at Martz Hall in Pottsville.
Scouting the Cardinals: This is the furthest Pine Grove has been since 2008, and the Cardinals got the quarterfinals by beating Mount Carmel, 50-43. They are led by 5-4 junior guard Becky Evans, who averages 19 points per game. She will likely reach 1,000 points in Friday's game, needing four for the milestone. Senior forwards Lauren Thompson (8.3 points) and Shannon Zimmerman (9.9 points) are the tallest starters at 5-10.
Up next: District 11 champion Notre Dame-Green Pond and District 1 champ St. Basil Academy, which eliminated Delone Catholic in the second round, will meet to play this game's winner in the semifinals on Tuesday.
Matt Goul is a high school sports reporter for the Daily Record/Sunday News. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org, 771-2045 or @mgoul on Twitter.