Dover boys eye hoop semifinal tonight: 23-0 Senators focusing on Caravel, not beyond

Dover head coach Stephen Wilson. Special to the Delaware State News/Gary Emeigh

DOVER — The Dover High boys’ basketball team heard all year people talking about the possibility of being undefeated at the end of the regular season.

But coach Stephen Wilson said the Senators never focused on that until they had one more game left. Their attention was always on the next opponent.

Dover is in a similar situation now.

People are already turning their attention to Saturday, where Dover could possibly be playing for a state championship. But first, the
Senators need to worry about tonight because there will be a pretty good team across from them.

Second-seeded Dover (23-0) will play third-seeded Caravel (17-5) tonight at 6:30 p.m. at the University of Delaware’s Bob Carpenter Center in the semifinals of the DIAA state tournament.

Wilson hopes the Senators will once again tune everything out and focus on the task at hand.

“People are talking about Saturday already but we’re talking about Thursday,” Wilson said. “People can talk about whatever they want, but we got to talk about Thursday first.”

Dover will be attempting to make the championship game for the first time since 2010 when the Senators fell to Sanford.

Sanford, the tournament’s top seed, will be playing No. 5 seed St. Georges in the other semifinal tonight. Tipoff is scheduled for 30 minutes after the conclusion of the Dover-Caravel matchup.

Dover has not played at the Carpenter Center since that 2010 loss to Sanford in the finals.

“It’s exciting, we’re all excited,” said senior Eric White. “I’ve never been there before. We’re trying to make history.”

“It’s a great opportunity,” said junior Eden Davis. “We’ve worked hard for this, it’s a great feeling. We wanted it bad.”

Wilson does not think the stage will be too much for his players.

Dover developed quite a following during its quest to finish the regular season unbeaten. Dover’s gym, the biggest high school gym in the state, was filled nearly to capacity at the end of the year.

The Senators sold out their own gym for the Henlopen Conference championship game against Lake Forest. Its quarterfinal matchup at Polytech against St. Mark’s also sold out.

So playing in front of big crowds is nothing new for this group.

“It’s very special for them to have that opportunity,” Wilson said. “Our gym is probably a little smaller than theirs (UD’s) so I think we’ve put ourselves in a position to understand what we’re going up against. There will still be a factor of walking in and being on that college floor, where a lot of them want to be at. I’m excited for them and our fans to be able to watch us play.”

Dover has victories against Christiana and St. Mark’s so far in its state tournament run. Caravel, like Dover, had a first round bye before it held off Mount Pleasant in the second round and then defeated Glasgow in overtime in the quarterfinals.

The Buccaneers were in the state title game two years ago and reached the quarterfinals one season ago.

Dover and Caravel have not played each other since a regular season contest in 2011, which the Buccaneers won.

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