O'Neal's career day sends Dover to district win
With 3:17 to play in the third quarter of their District 3 Class AAA preliminary round game Friday night, the Dover and East Pennsboro boys' basketball teams had already traded leads 15 times.
It appeared the back-and-forth battle would continue until the final seconds of the game. But at about that time, the No. 15 Eagles found the sense of urgency they had been missing.
They put a few possessions between themselves and the visiting Panthers, and there would be no 16th lead change. Dover stretched the lead to as large as 10 points in the fourth quarter before taking a 56-48 victory.
"We talked about before the game: Don't be satisfied just to be here," said Dover head coach Brian Schmoyer, who saw his team lose in the preliminary round last season. "Let's be a dangerous team in districts and see what we can string together."
Dover (11-9) advances to the first round, where the Eagles will travel to second-seeded Lampeter-Strasburg at 7 p.m. Tuesday.
The Eagles were led by Jerry O'Neal's 20 points. The senior registered at least two points in every quarter, including six in the final quarter.
"We needed to be aggressive on offense and defense," O'Neal said. "My teammates did a good job of getting me open."
O'Neal scored 13 of his points in the second half.
"Jerry O'Neal, I think, had his career game tonight," Schmoyer said. "We've been trying to get him to attack for 32 minutes, and he finally put together a full game tonight."
The Eagles overcame seven turnovers in the fourth quarter and played crucial minutes without senior Najah Fink, who battled foul trouble most of the game. Fink still managed to score 12 points and pull down 15 rebounds.
No. 18 East Pennsboro (11-11) had a trio of players in double figures, led by Matt Dunkelberger's 15 points. Avery Holmes scored 11 points, including three 3-pointers and Sam Powery added 10.
The Panthers were just 4-of-14 from the foul line.
Dover 56, East Pennsboro 48
East Pennsboro (48)
Avery Holmes 4 0-4 11, Grove 1 1-2 4, Fries 0 0-0 0, Sam Powery 4 1-2 10, Henry 3 0-0 7, Farling 0 1-4 1, Matt Dunkelberger 7 1-2 15. Totals — 19 4-14 48.
Sayers 3 0-0 7, Davis 2 4-6 8, DeShong 2 1-1 5, Bowman 0 2-4 2, Mummert 1 0-0 2, Jerry O'Neal 7 4-6 20, Najah Fink 6 0-0 12. Totals — 21 11-17 56.
East Pennsboro_11_14_9_14_—_ 48
3-point goals: EP 6, (Holmes 3, Grove, Powery, Henry); D 3, (O'Neal 2, Sayers).