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Dotsey sisters keep Haverford girls unbeaten in No. 1 vs. No. 2 matchup

01/23/2023, 12:15am EST
By Josh Verlin

Josh Verlin (@jmverlin)

Undefeated through its first 15 games, Haverford’s girls still had plenty to prove.

The Fords have been a solid District 1 squad of late though not a powerhouse, making it to the state tournament a year ago for the first time in a decade. But they entered Sunday’s clash with Abington — certainly in the powerhouse discussion — ranked No. 1 in the District 1 6A unofficial formula rankings, yet without a true marquee win under their belts.

Caroline Dotsey (above) had 22 points and six rebounds in Haverford' 16th-straight win. (Photo: Josh Verlin/CoBL)

When the Fords found out a week ago that a planned game against Imhotep on Sunday had become one against the Ghosts, who entered the weekend No. 2 in the district rankings, they were anything but upset.

“I know that within our Central League, there are a couple really good teams with your Springfield and Conestoga’s,” Haverford coach Lauren Pellicane said, “but our strength of schedule — and it’s nobody’s fault — is not what Abington’s is [in the Suburban One League]. 

“We want to be able to compete with the best teams out there, and they’re certainly a top five District 1 team year after year. So yeah, absolutely we want[ed] to step in and we knew it was going to be a fight.”

Consider Haverford’s spot now fully earned. The Fords and Ghosts went back-and-forth all day during their afternoon matchup at the Maggie Lucas Play-By-Play Classic, but Pellicane’s squad had the last word, putting its foot down in the fourth quarter and holding on for a 55-47 win. 

It was the rematch of a District 1 6A seeding game a year ago, one which Haverford held a second-half lead but couldn’t hang on, losing by five. The Fords had no such finishing issues this time, taking a two-point lead into the fourth quarter and pulling away, then withstanding one last Abington burst for the final eight-point margin.

“It really was a statement game for us,” Haverford senior Caroline Dotsey said. “I think knowing how we played last year kinda played into it [...] seeing who would come out on top was really motivating for us.”

Dotsey, the 6-foot-2 Maine-bound forward, and her younger sister Rian Dotsey carried the Fords’ offense; Caroline leading all scorers with 22 points and six rebounds, two steals and an assist, Rian adding 15 points with six rebounds, three blocks, two assists and a steal. 

The older Dotsey took over in the second half, scoring 18 of her 22 after the break, including 12 in the final frame. She had her elbow jumper working for her, hitting a number off screens, but also hit a couple in transition, not hesitating to rise up and knock down a shot even with her whole team trailing behind her.

“She’s our go-to, she’s averaging close to 19 points over the last five games and you know, in transition she’s the guy, she’s got the green light,” Pellicane said. “She can knock that shot down, and Rian gave us a big boost. They’re both very capable scorers, and it’s fun to watch them play and play together.”

Senior forward Mollie Carpenter, a 6-1 Catholic (D.C.) commit, grabbed 16 rebounds, dished out four assists, grabbed three steals and a block, her four points almost an afterthought to her massive contributions elsewhere. 

Guards Sky Newman and Aniya Eberhart combined for 14 points and seven assists for Haverford (16-0), which might just be off to the best start in program history; Bobbi Morgan, who was the coach back in 2003-04, when the Fords went 28-3, recalls a holiday tournament loss to Archbishop Carroll, on a team that went to the District semifinals and lost to Harrisburg in states.

The continued march of wins hasn’t gotten boring in the slightest.

“Each one’s super-exciting for us,” Caroline Dotsey said. “We kind of try to take it one game at a time, we really look at it like that. It’s really exciting for us to come this far undefeated.”

Abington got 19 points from Cire Worley, who became the program’s all-time leading scorer (1,488 points) with a layup in the second quarter, finishing her afternoon with 1,499 career points. But the Ghosts (14-3) were just 7-of-26 from the floor in the second quarter, shooting 32.7% (17-of-52) for the game, the length of the Fords’ frontcourt and guards overwhelming for a Ghosts team that, outside of the 6-0 Worley, doesn’t boast much in the size department.

“The whole team was really excited, we’ve been practicing the whole week preparing, and the energy was just so high the whole week,” Rian Dotsey said. “We had good practices leading up to it, and we were able to execute.”

A sophomore wing, Rian Dotsey (above) has emerged as a big-time threat for the Fords this season. (Photo: Josh Verlin/CoBL)

While the older Dotsey has been a stalwart for Haverford, Rian has been a breakout threat for the Fords, a 5-11 wing with similar versatility to her sister, even if they’re slightly different positionally. Rian knocked down a 3-pointer, had a pair of three-point plays and went 6-of-7 from the line, doing all of it while taking the fourth-most shots on her team.

“Her ball-handling and her shot has gotten so much better,” Caroline said of her sister. “She’s been such a treat on so many different levels this year, not only being able to post up but the mix of post and guard play in her own game, she’s really developed that.”

The win over Abington is the start of a brutal closing stretch for Haverford, which plays five of its final six on the road. 

This week alone they face the two teams right behind them in the Central League, Springfield (Delco.) on Tuesday and Conestoga on Saturday, the Cougars and Pioneers each 9-1 and with their eyes on the top seed in the Central League playoffs; the first meeting between Haverford and Conestoga ended in a 43-41 victory on Dec. 13. There’s also still a trip to Garnet Valley (7-3) on Feb. 7 in the season finale, though the Fords handled the Jaguars 57-30 in December.

For a night, they’ll feel good, but then it’s on towards No. 17.

“We celebrate today, we celebrate this win, and I told them after we wake up tomorrow and we’re in school, it’s going to be about Springfield on Tuesday,” Pellicane said. “This is what we want, this is what we play for, and after this it’s league play and it’s not going to get easier.”

By Quarter
Abington:  13  |  13  |   9   |  12  ||  47
Haverford: 14  |  10  |  13  |  18  ||  55

Abington: 17-52 FG (7-26 3PT), 6-10 FT
Haverford: 20-42 FG (1-7 3PT), 14-19 FT

Abington: Cire Worley 19, Jordyn Reynolds 8, Abril Bowser 7, Maya Johnson 6, Mikayla Durham 5, Piper McGinley 2

Haverford: Caroline Dotsey 22, Rian Dotsey 15, Sky Newman 8, Aniya Eberhart 6, Mollie Carpenter 4

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