Dover hoop star Allen follows in brothers’ footsteps

Dover’s Elijah Allen goes for a layup against Newark in the second quarter at Dover. Delaware State News/Marc Clery

DOVER — One of the most interested spectators of the Dover High-St. Mark’s boys’ basketball quarterfinals on Saturday wasn’t in the gym at Polytech High.

He was in Lawrenceville, N.J., on the Rider University campus.

Jordan Allen was watching on his iPhone. With the game not being live-streamed anywhere, Allen had made a Facetime call to some friends at the game so he could see his younger brother junior Elijah Allen.

Elijah put on a show for Jordan and everyone in attendance.

He scored a game-high 26 points and helped Dover reach the semifinals of the DIAA state tournament for the first time since 2010. The second-seeded Senators (23-0) will face No. 3 seed Caravel Academy on Thursday at 6:30 p.m. at the Carpenter Center in Newark.

After Saturday’s win, Elijah Allen heard from Jordan in the locker room on a phone call.

Jordan Allen

“He said, ‘I love you bro, you’re doing amazing things,’” Elijah said. “He told me to keep pushing, don’t stop.”

The very next day, Jordan went out and played one of his best games of the season for Rider. He went 6-of-9 from three-point range and netted 23 points for the Broncos in a victory at Marist.

And Elijah was live-streaming the game on his ESPN app.

“We watch each other all the time,” Elijah said. “I’m always tuned in watching his games.”

With all of the brothers’ success, Elijah is the first one to make it to ‘the Bob,’ as the Carpenter Center is known, with Dover.

Jordan was an All-State player at Dover and led the state in scoring his senior year in 2016. But his Dover team fell in the second at St. Elizabeth as a junior despite his 29 points and dropped a home game to St. Thomas More in the second round as a senior.

Elijah experienced his first state tournament heartbreak a year ago when the Senators lost at Salesianum in the second round.

That game, and being in attendance for his older brother’s tournament defeats, has pushed Elijah to help lead Dover back to the Carpenter Center.

“It’s motivation to finish something that my brothers started,” Allen said. “They started something here and I want to finish it for them.”

Dover coach Stephen Wilson jokes he feels like he’s had an Allen brother in his program since he took the Dover job.

First there was Xavier Allen, who graduated Dover in 2012. He went on to play wide receiver for the Wesley College football team.

Jordan Allen then came along and earned a call-up to the varsity team midway through his freshman year. After a sophomore season where Dover missed the state tournament, Jordan helped lift the Senators to the second round and the college offers started coming in.

Elijah, like Jordan, has been on Dover’s varsity squad since his freshman year. There’s one more Allen brother, Noah, in the pipeline. He’s currently in seventh-grade at Central Middle School.

But Wilson says he knows who the MVP of the family is. It’s the boys’ mother, Jennifer Queen.

“I just piggyback off what she teaches,” Wilson said. “It helps she trusts me and allows me to help her the best that I can. I’m proud of the men they’re becoming. Their ultimate goal is to help their mother and not have to have her pay for college. So far they’re doing well with that.”

Wilson said Queen installed a work-ethic in each of the brothers which has rubbed off on one another.

“It started with Xavier, who got here first so he was able to tell them what to expect,” Wilson said. “Jordan was always working on his game here too, Elijah got to see how hard his brothers worked. I think the same thing is trickling down to his brother Noah.”

Elijah said he would always play up an age group in organized basketball when he was younger.

That wasn’t a problem for him, though. He’s been playing up his whole life.

“I would play against them and their friends since I was 10,” Elijah said. “That helped me a lot. It got me better at an early age.”

With so many basketball games, practices and classes between the brothers, separated by about two hours, it’s hard for Elijah and Jordan to see each other during the season.

Jordan was able to make it to Dover once this year, for a victory over Caesar Rodney. Elijah hasn’t been able to make the trip up to Rider yet this season.

Wilson said he tries to watch every one of Jordan’s games, but there’s been times Elijah has a practice or a game at the same time.

“If I’m not watching live, I’m taping it,” Wilson said. “I’m in constant contact with Jordan and I speak to his coach regularly. I haven’t been able to get up there as much as I’d like, because I’m coaching Elijah, ready for this state tournament run and Jordan knows that.”

On Sunday Wilson said he was surprised how quickly he received a call from Jordan, who hadn’t scored in double figures since Jan. 27.
“He must’ve ran off the court right away and called me and his mother,” Wilson said. “He was happy he broke out of his slump.”

All eyes will be on Elijah Thursday night as the Senators try to reach the championship game of the state tournament for the first time since that 2010 season.

Luckily Jordan will be free, the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference tournament does not start until Saturday night. Although Elijah says he always tells people to go to Jordan’s games if there’s a conflict.

“They balance it out,” Elijah said. “There’s always no hard feelings. He’s two hours away, so if he has a game, I’m like it’s OK, go up there, go to his game.”

Reach staff writer Tim Mastro at tmastro@newszap.com

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