WILMINGTON — Foiled by a full-court press, Dover High struggled to a first round exit in the DIAA girls’ basketball state tournament.
The 18th-seeded Senators fell 73-35 to No. 15 Howard in Wilmington on Tuesday night.
Dover did not react well to Howard’s press early on, turning the ball over 21 times in the first half.
“I think we were a little rattled,” said first-year Dover coach Taylor Tuck. “Once they started their press we started to rush a little bit. We had way too many unforced turnovers. I thought we did a better job in the second half but we were in so deep of a hole it was tough to get out of it. They had a good press and we didn’t keep our composure as we should have.”
Howard (15-6) advanced to play second overall seed Caesar Rodney High (19-1) at CR on Thursday at 7 p.m. The two teams met in last year’s tournament with the Riders winning a tight second-round contest 54-51.
Dover ended its season at 9-12. The Senators finished with a five-game losing streak.
Howard took advantage of six consecutive turnovers to race out to a 11-3 lead in the opening minutes. Howard ended the first quarter with a 25-10.
Pretty soon, the lead was more than 20 points and the Wildcats were on top 52-22 at halftime. Dover was outscored 18-6 in the third as Howard’s advantage ballooned to 70-28 — its largest of the night.
Senior Sher’vohnia Tolson was Dover’s leading scorer with 15 points. Ashley Manifold added eight points while Jacarra Jackson chipped in seven.
Howard’s Ronnasia Blatch-Huggins was the game’s top scorer with 25 points. Na’leigha Wright was also in double-figures for the Wildcats with 17.
Dover was in the playoff for the third year in a row but has only won one game during those three seasons.
Tuck said she was happy to make the postseason in her first season as coach and wants the team to grow from the experience.
“I want them to be proud of the steps we made in one year,” Tuck said. “It’s tough to have a new coach come in and change the culture. I think they did a great job of buying in and playing as a team. They’re great with each other, they get along and they hold each other accountable. They did a great job switching to a new system so I think going forward we’ll have more progress to make.”
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