Allen’s 28 leads Dover boys to win in season opener

DOVER — Junior Elijah Allen paced Dover High’s offensive production in Friday night’s 74-58 season-opening boys’ basketball win over Henlopen North foe Sussex Tech High.

The 6-foot-1 guard dropped a game-high 28 points, including a trio of three-pointers, and went 7-of-9 from the free throw line.

“My teammates got me open, they got me open shots and I was taking the shots that they gave me. It was all about my teammates getting me open,” Allen said.

“This is what we saw all summer [from Elijah]. I don’t expect 28 every night, but I expect the effort he’s giving right now,” said Dover coach Stephen Wilson.

“We asked him to work on his defensive rebounding, which he does, but the points are a plus. I’m not surprised by what he does, he works hard and he deserves it.”

Allen received help on both ends of the ball from fellow junior Eden Davis and a pair of transfers.

“We have two transfers, John Lassiter and Jyheim Spencer,” explained Allen. “John brings high-energy and tempo and Spencer brings defense and rebounds.”

Lassiter, a 6-foot-1 junior guard from Caesar Rodney High, scored nine points. Spencer, a 6-foot-7 junior forward from Seaford High, scored six points and was a force on defense for the Senators.

Davis added 11 points of his own.

While the fast-paced offense put together a 20-6 run in the second quarter, the defense executed and prevented the Ravens from producing fast break layups and knocking down three-pointers.

“We just thought we needed to follow our philosophy and do what we needed to do, keep the ball in the middle of the lane, contest the threes that they were going to take and also rebound the first rebound not the second rebound,” Wilson explained.

Sussex Tech’s Ja’Shaun Johnson came out in the second half and dropped consecutive buckets, followed by a K.J. Custis fast break layup to quickly put together a 6-0 Ravens run in the first 1:23 of the third quarter.

It paced a 20-point quarter for the Ravens, with Johnson hitting a pair of three-pointers.

Wilson was ready for the halftime adjustments.

“We knew that they were going to come out and press, so we had to prepare for their press and make sure that we had people in the spots we needed to have them at in order to make sure that when the pressure comes we are able to counter that pressure,” he said.

With a couple of Dover players dealing with second half cramps and foul trouble, Sussex Tech out-scored Dover, 17-14, in the fourth quarter and 41-34 overall in the second half.

Junior Devon Reynolds led the Ravens in scoring, putting up 27 points in the loss. He finished the game with seven three-pointers and 15 fourth-quarter points.

“We knew Tech was going to be high-energy and that they were going to keep us running up and down the court just like our offense,” said Allen.

Skylar Johnson scored 12 points, while K.J. Custis added 10 points for the Ravens.

“It was the first excitement of the first game of the season, so I think we’ll make an adjustment to prepare a little better, but I think we did a good job in the first half to get them out of their sets,” Wilson said.

“We knew they were going to take us out of ours, so we had to dictate that pace a little bit with them.”

Following last season’s return to the DIAA state tournament, Allen feels even more confident with the group the Senators have heading into this season.

“I feel like we’re more of a team, we’re together and we’re bonding more. We really love each other and we bleed blue and white,” he said. “This year we want to finish above .500, get to the playoffs and just be a good team.”

Reach staff writer Ben Heck at bheck@newszap.com

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