HERSHEY >> The game ended with no big fanfare. No leaps of joy. No shrieks of happiness.
The Wilson girls' basketball team had been here before. And it showed.
The defending District 3 champions had too many offensive options, too many athletes and simply proved to be too much for a Dover girls' basketball team hoping to make history. Wilson defeated Dover, 51-38, in the District 3 Class AAAA girls' basketball championship game at Giant Center.
Dover's girls played in a district final for the first time in the program's history, and the Eagles had an opportunity to win their first district title a few weeks after winning the program's first league tournament championship.
The Eagles once again relied on do-it-all senior Alayah Hall, but even though the quick guard scored more than half her team's points — she had 20 — she couldn't beat Wilson's balanced squad. District 3 named Hall its most outstanding player for the big-school tournament, but even having the most dynamic player couldn't put Dover over the top.
Wilson had a machine-like feel to it this season.
Wilson brought back four starters from last year's district-championship team, and the Bulldogs could rely on four players headed to Division-I college programs. The Bulldogs broke open a competitive game in the third quarter. Clinging to a five-point lead at halftime, Wilson used an 8-1 spurt to open the second half to put the game away. And with five minutes to play in the third quarter, Wilson cruised.
"They just dominated inside tonight," Dover coach Troy Lokhaiser said. "It seemed like every loose ball they got — every rebound.
"We went in at halftime down five points and we were pretty happy. ... We came out for the third ... and it went the other way in the first couple minutes. ... With a team like Wilson, I don't know exactly how you crawl back into that game after you're down, especially us. We're kind of limited in our scorers some nights."
Three Wilson starters cracked double figures in scoring. Jessie Wallace scored a team-high 16 points, but both Avery Marz and Carley Brew added 15 points apiece.
Wilson could rely on a front line that stood 6-foot-1 and 5-11. And a return trip to Hershey had been expected. After a 6-7 start to the season, Wilson has now won 16 straight.
"That's one thing this team won't be is complacent," Wilson coach Doug Myer said. "They're loose but when the ball gets tossed up they're ready to go. ... The thing with this group is we don't get a whole lot of time together after the season. A bunch of kids play AAU, some kids go to their other sports. The slow start we had was partly that and was partly we were playing stud teams, but looking back that helped us. In the long run it really benefitted us."
Brew — a James Madison recruit — dominated early, scoring eight of her team's first 20 points.
While Marz — a St. Joseph's recruit — took over in the third quarter, scoring seven of her team's 15 points in the pivotal period.
Both finished with double-doubles, as Brew pulled down 11 rebounds while Marz pulled down 10.
But this was also a team that had a goal and desire before the season to return to Hershey.
"I definitely wanted to win it my senior year, and my know my fellow seniors did too," Marz said. "So that was like a big thing for us to get here and to win it was even better."
Alayah Hall 8 4-8 20, Fowler 2 0-4 4, Lokhaiser 1 0-0 2, Coley 0 1-2 1, McMahon 2 0-1 4, Crossan 1 0-0 3, Herman 2 0-0 4, Kearse 0 0-0 0, Fox 0 0-0 0, Warner 0 0-0 0.
Totals — 16 5-15 38.
Jessie Wallace 6 3-6 16, Avery Marz 3 7-8 15, Carley Brew 4 7-8 15, Bailey 2 0-0 5, Reinhart 0 0-0 0, Ebner 0 0-0 0, Klee 0 0-0 0, Jen. Wallace 0 0-0 0, O'Brien 0 0-0 0, Wright 0 0-0 0, Sottosanti 0 0-0 0, Rhodes 0 0-0 0.
Totals — 15 17-22 51.
3-point goals — Dover 1 (Crossan), Wilson 4 (Marz 2, Bailey, Wallace).