Dover boys headed to the Bob: Unbeaten Senators top St. Mark’s 57-47 in state quarterfinals

Dover’s Elijah Allen goes up for a shot sandwiched between Michael Williams (22) and Biaec Sanders of St. Mark’s in the first half. Special to the Delaware State News/Gary Emeigh

WOODSIDE — With Eden Davis rooted to the bench with three fouls in the second quarter, the Dover High boys’ basketball team showed off its depth to build a lead regardless.

Then when Davis finally came back in, he seemingly couldn’t miss.

Right on cue, the opposing defense keyed in on Davis and Elijah Allen took advantage.

It all added up to a team-win for the Senators and their first trip to the Bob Carpenter Center since 2009.

Allen netted 26 points as second-seeded Dover downed No. 10 St. Mark’s 57-47 in the quarterfinals of the DIAA state tournament on Saturday night at Polytech. The Senators remained unbeaten and improved to 23-0 overall.

Wayna Wise of Dover goes in for a layup but was called for charging when he slammed into Victor Marcelo of St. Mark’s.

They advanced to play third seed Caravel Academy in the semifinals at the Bob Carpenter Center in Newark on Thursday. Tipoff is scheduled for 6:30 p.m.

Dover used a 22-point third quarter to pull away from the Spartans.

It was sparked by Davis, who drained a three on the first possession of the third after he sat out the second quarter thanks to three fouls he picked up in the first.

Allen hit a bucket the next time down the court before Davis made a floater followed by back-to-back three-pointers for a 39-28 Senator lead.

“I wanted to get involved,” Davis said. “I had to pick it up for my teammates. They held it down for me in the first half, so I had to pick it up for them. We got a good team and they can all play.”

Davis, who finished with 13 points, would not score another field goal for the rest of the game as St. Mark’s shifted its defensive attention to him.

John Lassiter of the Senators manages to squeeze through Biaec Sanders and JJ Psenucska of St. Mark’s and pass to an open teammate.

Allen was the biggest beneficiary of that. He made a three of his own to give Dover its largest lead of the contest at 44-28 with 4:06 left in the third.

“It’s amazing to have a partner in crime like that (Davis),” Allen said.

The Senators though had contributions from all over.

When Davis left the game with foul trouble, Kylen Thomas knocked down a pair of short jumpers and Keith Bessicks also converted a key bucket. The two substitutes helped Dover turn a 14-11 first quarter deficit into a 26-21 halftime lead.

“Our bench came in and really did a good job,” said Dover coach Stephen Wilson. “We have a good starting six but we got four or five more who can come off the bench and do the same things that the starters can do.”

Eric White was Dover’s third-leading scorer with six points.

Normally one of the first subs off the bench, White started on Saturday as Dover switched from its normal four-guard lineup to one with two forwards to deal with St. Mark’s height.

Dover head coach Stephen Wilson tells his team not to let up in Saturday night’s game against St. Mark’s.

“Coach told us before the game it was going to be a big-man game,” White said. “We already knew what we had to do. We had to box out, dive on the floor, whatever we had to do to get the ball and get a W.”

“I told them this was going to be one of the hardest games of their lives,” Wilson said.

And at times it was as Dover struggled to get going in the first quarter.

St. Mark’s held its largest lead of 17-11 early in the second quarter before a 6-0 run by the Senators tied things up. Allen put Dover ahead for good with a three-pointer late in the second for a 24-21 advantage.

When the third quarter began, Wilson drew up a play for Davis on the first possession.

“We never lose faith in anybody,” Wilson said. “We called his number in the second half and he answered. He’s one of our main guys and he knows he’s supposed to do that.”

St. Mark’s cut Dover’s lead to 11 in the fourth and had a chance to get the deficit to single-digits on a breakaway but a key chasedown block by Wanya Wise kept the score at 50-39.

Dover went on to hit five free throws plus a layup by White in the final three minutes to seal it.

“You got to give it up to the coaches,” Allen said. “They gave us a great scouting report and a great gameplan. We have a great team. All 15 guys can get into the game and execute to get the win.”

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