ARCHBALD — Time and again, the Hanover Area Hawkeyes tried to find an open lane to the basket.
Just about every time, it closed quickly.
So did Hanover Area’s hopes of winning the school’s first district girls basketball title, as the hot-shooting and defensively dominant Dunmore Bucks dashed those dreams Tuesday with a 57-28 battering in a District 2 Class 2A semifinal at Valley View High School.
“I told the girls to keep their heads up,” Hanover Area coach Vic Kopko said. “That was an outstanding basketball team we played.”
Besides, while defending champ Dunmore (23-2) will try to defend its District 2 crown against Holy Cross in the Class 2A title game Friday, Hanover Area has another game to play.
The 18-6 Hawkeyes will battle Montrose, also Friday, for the right to represent District 2 as its No. 3 Class 2A team in the PIAA state tournament.
“We still have one game in front of us that we’re going to be ready for,” Kopko said.
The Hawkeyes were hardly ready for the defense Dunmore employed in the semifinals.
Bucks inside players Jillian Korgeski blocked seven shots and Mariah Maciejewski pulled down eight rebounds over the first two quarters as Dunmore completely clogged up the paint and suffocated Hanover Area’s attempts to get close the basket.
How dominating was Dunmore’s defense?
The Hawkeyes came out of the first quarter with no baskets and just two points, managed to score just 10 points by halftime, and didn’t find another scorer to complement Asdone Hooper until Amber Grohowski hit a driving lay-in more than five minutes into the second half.
By then, the Bucks had pretty much broken the game open and were holding a 39-18 lead.
“They were better on the inside than I had expected,” Kopko said. “They out-rebounded us 2-1 at halftime. I just think they’re an outstanding basketball team.”
It didn’t take the Bucks long to show why.
Holding a 4-2 lead near the two-minute mark of the opening quarter, Dunmore got breathing room when Megan Hartshorn popped the first of Dunmore’s seven three-pointers just before Maddie Martin hit a jumper to send the Bucks into the second quarter with a 9-2 advantage.
That grew to double digits when Maciejewski — who finished with a game-high 20 points, including eight in the first half — hit a couple layups in the second quarter.
And Dunmore really kicked the game open with a 17-point third quarter that left Hanover Area in a 41-20 hole with eight minutes to play.
Not that the Hawkeyes were about to pack it in.
They pulled within 18-10 when Hooper popped her first of three three-pointers just 2:22 before halftime.
And when Hooper came out firing in the third quarter, scoring five of her team-high 17 points, the Hawkeyes appeared on the verge of working their way back into it while closing within 26-16.
But that’s as close as they came.
Dunmore responded with 11 straight points — a pair of treys and a 16-foot jumper by Martin and Hartshorn’s three-pointer — to effectively end Hanover Area’s comeback hopes.
“It was eight,” Kopko said of his team’s deficit midway through the second quarter, “we closed the gap twice. That quickly, they came back and drained two or three threes right in our face. We were prepared for playing the perimeter. Even with a hand in their face, they still made them. They controlled the boards, they drained the three.”
Fortunately for the Hawkeyes, it didn’t drain the life out of their season.
“They were a little bit better than us tonight,” Kopko said of the Bucks. “(But) I’m very proud of the accomplishment this team’s made this season.”
District 2 Class 2A semifinals
Dunmore 57, Hanover Area 28
HANOVER AREA (28) — Asdone Hooper 6 2-4 17, Mickie Kaminski 0 0-0 0, Brittany Miller 0 2-4 2, Haylee Bobos 2 2-3 6, Amber Grohowski 1 1-4 3, Marissa Keegan 0 0-0 0, Chyenne Fine 0 0-2 0, Amanda Sirak 0 0-1 0, Brittany McNair 0 0-0 0, Vikki Hoffman 0 0-0 0, Morgan Konek 0 0-0 0. Totals 9 7-18 28.
DUNMORE (57) — Maddie Martin 6 0-0 16, Kayleigh Semian 1 0-0 2, Jillian Korgeski 3 0-0 6, Mariah Maciejewski 9 2-2 20, Megan Connors 0 0-0 0, Megan Hartshorn 3 2-2 11, Erika Bistran 0 0-0 0, Emily Sheehan 0 0-0 0, Mara Walsh 0 0-0 0, Isabelle Cooper 0 0-0 0, Allie Borgia 0 0-0 0, Amanda Pelucacci 1 0-0 2, Marina Pegula 0 0-0 0, Shannon Regan 0 0-0 0. Totals 23 4-4 57.
Three-point goals — HAN 3 (Hooper 3); DUN 7 (Martin 4, Hartshorn 3).