Next game March 7
After a season full of conquering challenges, the Dover Senators climbed another mountain Saturday, defeating No. 10 St. Mark’s 57-47 to advance to the DIAA boys basketball semifinals.
The Senators battled an unorthodox St. Mark’s lineup all night and weathered standout Eden Davis’ early foul trouble to gain a double-digit lead in the second half before fending off any St. Mark’s rally down the stretch.
With Dover trailing by three points after one quarter, Davis sat out the second quarter with three fouls. However, Elijah Allen, who led the team with 26 points, along with Keith Bessicks, Kylen Thomas, Jayvon Rush-Taylor and Eric White, picked up the slack.
“It shows we have a great team, they all can play,” Davis said. “My boy [Allen] over here shot the lights out. He picked it up for us.”
The Senators took a 26-21 advantage heading into the halftime break. Dover began to pull away in the third, increasing their lead to 48-34 thanks to a big quarter from both Davis and Allen.
“Our bench really came in and did a nice job in the first quarter and I think that really shows the versatility of our guys,” said Dover head coach Stephen Wilson. “We have a good starting six, but we also have four or five more that can do the same things the starters can do.”
Leading by double digits in the fourth, a scrappy Spartans squad would hang around, but the Senators held on to the lead late, punching their ticket to the semifinals.
“The coaches, they gave us a great scouting report and a great game plan and we executed,” Allen said. “It shows we have a great team. All of us can get in the game and do what we have to do to execute and win.”
Ahead of Saturday game, Wilson told his team it would be the hardest game of their lives.
“[I said} we can have a hard game and go home, or have a hard game and have a bus ride to Newark,” Wilson said. “We’re taking that bus ride to Newark and trying to hold it down for our community and families.”
With this being the first trip to the Bob Carpenter Center for many on the Dover roster, they’re eager to get on the court Thursday against No. 3 Caravel Academy.
“It’s exciting, the team is excited,” White said. “I haven’t been there before, like Elijah. We’re trying to make history. Nothing in our way, nothing is going to stop us.”
After playing two high-pressure playoff games in three days, the Senators now have four days to prepare for the Buccaneers and a possible trip to the championship game.
“I like these four days to give the kids a rest, they play so hard,” Wilson said. “It gives us a chance to talk about our opponent. I think it’s good for our style of play. They’d play tomorrow if they could, but we’re happy to give them [Sunday] off, but I know these kids will be up for this.”