Allen scores 30 as Dover holds off Woodbridge in battle of division leaders

DOVER — Great teams don’t play great every night.

Certainly, Dover High’s effort against Woodbridge on Friday night wasn’t its finest.

But, as great teams do, the Senators still found a way to notch another victory.

Elijah Allen

Dover survived a seven-point third quarter before finally registering a 78-71 win over the upset-minded Blue Raiders in a battle of Henlopen Conference boys’ basketball division leaders.

After going up by as many as 16 points in the first half, Northern Division leader-Dover (16-1) watched as South co-leader Woodbridge (13-4) closed within just four with 3:36 still remaining.

The Senators, however, answered with a 12-5 run before improving to 40-2 over the past two seasons.

“We made it tougher than it should have been but we still dug it out and got the win,” said senior guard Elijah Allen, who netted a game-high 30 points. “We’ve got to keep our foot on the gas. We can’t let up on anybody because everybody wants to give us their best shot.

“They’re not going to give up so we’ve got to keep it going 100 percent the whole game.”

Woodbridge did have something to do with Dover’s offensive struggles.

The Senators held a 47-34 halftime lead with Allen and Eden Davis both scoring 15.

That advantage shrunk to just 54-45 going into the fourth quarter. And that lead was only 64-60 when Ricky Kane (26 points) sank a pair of free throws with 3:36 on the clock.

Woodbridge then forced a turnover and went to the foul line only five seconds later but missed both free throws. The Raiders were 18-of-27 on free throws in the second half.

“It was a tough loss,” said Woodbridge coach Julius Cannon. “They (missed free throws) always come back to haunt you. I like our fight — we fought until the end. A loss is a loss but we have things we can build off.

“That’s in our DNA, we’re going to fight until the end. They played hard all four quarters so I’m proud of them.”

Senior center Jy’Heim Spencer tallied six straight points in Dover’s game-ending run to finish with 14 points. Davis netted 19 points.

“Dover’s a good team,” said Cannon. “That’s the thing with good teams that have senior leadership, they didn’t get rattled.”

Right now, the Raiders are tied with Laurel for first place in the South. The two teams have already split their two regular-season meetings.

Woodbridge’s goal, though, is to win the South and get another shot at Dover in the Henlopen Conference championship game.

Coach Stephen Wilson knows the Senators need to play better than they did on Friday.

“If they make free throws, it’s a different ballgame,” he said about Woodbridge. “I know we’re a much better product than what we showed out there today. But a win is a win.

“We’ve got a lot of work we have to do in order to reach our goals. And I think we will. We’ve got to remember that we’re dealing with young kids that they’re going to have those ups and those downs.”