Dover boys sweep bracket at Governor’s Challenge

Junior guard John Lassiter led the Senators with 15 points in a 68-42 win over Forest Park Saturday. Delaware State News/Ben Heck

SALISBURY, Md. — The unbeaten Dover High boys basketball team took the nearly two-hour-long bus ride home with a pair of wins and its bracket championship trophy following a 68-42 win over Forest Park (Va.) Saturday at the 2018 Governor’s Challenge.

The Senators (8-0) defeated Cesar Chavez, 85-62, on Friday to earn the berth in the Bracket 13 title showdown with Forest Park at the Wicomico Youth & Civic Center.

Ten different players recorded at least two points and the Senators had three guards finish with double-digit point totals.

“It’s good to be able to let the boys play [over holiday break],” said Senators coach Stephen Wilson. “Plus we get to play teams who aren’t from around here that they don’t know a lot about.”

Sweeping at the Governor’s Challenge, the 38th annual holiday basketball tournament featuring more than 100 schools from 13 different states and Canada, is something Wilson doesn’t recall ever accomplishing with the Senators.

Dover’s Elijah Allen dribbles past Forest Park’s Kevin Johnson.

Neither does junior guard Eden Davis, who scored 14 points, reeled in three rebounds and dished out four assists in the 26-point win.

“This is a big win for our team because we never win it,” said Davis. “Every time we come here, we either win one game or we don’t win at all.”

Davis also led the team in steals with four and contributed 21 points in Friday’s win over Cesar Chavez.

“It feels good to get the sweep,” Wilson said. “We played back to back last weekend and we didn’t play good in the second game, so on the bus ride we talked about finishing the job today.

“This group is starting to build up some confidence heading into conference play,” he continued. “We’re already I think 5-0 in conference play, but we’re going into the second round of it and we have Cape coming up. We don’t really have a chance to sit back.”

Junior guard John Lassiter led the Senators in scoring, putting up 15 points, grabbing four rebounds and dishing out three assists.

Junior Elijah Allen recorded 13 points and grabbed six rebounds. He also led the offensive production with 26 points on 9-of-17 shooting on Friday.

Junior guard Eden Davis sprints down the court on a fast break, looking for an open teammate.

“They’ve been very instrumental for us,” Wilson said of his guards. “They haven’t been given a lot of love the last couple of years, but right now the hard work they’ve put in is really starting to show. They’re juniors, so they’ll be back for next year as well.”

The Senators enjoyed a quick start to the game offensively, jumping ahead 11-1 in the game’s opening quarter. The lone Forest Park point came off a free throw attempt.

Dover shot 48% (11-23) from the floor and 50% (3-6) at the free throw line in the first half, forcing 14 Forest Park turnovers as they jumped ahead 27-16 at the halftime break.

Dover coach Stephen Wilson shouts out instructions to his players in the second half of Saturday’s showdown.

The Senators’ strongest scoring performance came in the second half, putting up 20 and 21 points in the third and fourth quarters, respectively.

With Allen and Davis receiving some rest in the second half, Dover’s reserves contributed 18 points off the bench, including 14 in the third and fourth quarters.

Junior starting forward Jyheim Spencer scored six points on 3-of-3 shooting, while sophomore guard Wanya Wise added two points and three rebounds.

“We have a long way to go, but I do like the fact that one more win and these guys reach their win total from last year and the year before that. They’re playing good basketball right now,” said Wilson.

Now that the holiday tournament season is complete, the unbeaten Senators will focus in on its Henlopen Northern Division schedule heading into 2019.

“Once we come back on Wednesday, we’re 0-0 and we have to come back in ready to work hard in practice, watch some film and, our academics are very important to us, so we have to make sure our academics are strong, so that we have the same team coming back,” Wilson said.

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