Senator boys’ hoop team keeps battling: ‘I like this group’

DOVER — With only three seniors and just seven victories, it would be easy for the Dover High boys’ basketball team to write off the rest of the season.

But coach Stephen Wilson said that couldn’t be further from the truth.

Indeed, the veteran Senators’ coach would like to keep this season going as long as he can.

“I like this group,” said Wilson. “I like the fact that they have not quit (despite) being 7-9 at all.

“The average kid would be griping right now. But these guys are really working and focusing. I’m excited to be around them.”

Stephen Wilson

It will be difficult, but certainly not impossible, for Dover to find a way into the DIAA state tournament.

The Senators would probably have to win two or three of their remaining four games. And that includes Henlopen Conference Northern Division matchups with Cape Henlopen, Sussex Tech and Smyrna.

Still, almost all of Dover’s losses have been close. Seven of the Senators’ nine setbacks have come by six points or less.

“I always think about the games we should have had,” said senior guard Stefan Rush-Wilson. “We’re a new team so we were just trying to learn each other through the season. It’s coming together now. That’s what I think we’ve been having lately — good practices.”

Stefan Rush-Wilson

The Senators’ veteran players say they have plenty of reasons for playing hard the rest of the season.

“We have a good coach, we have a good staff, we have a good school,” said senior Jhalil Mosley. “And we believe what they say.”

“We want to make sure we leave the program in a good state for the young kids,” said senior Cam Turner.

What Wilson likes best is how Dover has been playing defense lately.

The Senators haven’t allowed more than 50 points in each of their last five contests. They’ve given up more than 60 points in only three games all year.

Too many times, though, Dover hasn’t been able to sustain its offense. In a loss to New Jersey’s Pope John VI last week, the Senators stormed out to a quick 18-1 lead only to fall, 50-44.

Rush-Wilson said Dover’s main defensive goal is keeping opposing offenses out of the paint.

“We’ve got to be dogs on defense,” he said. “Our main saying is ‘no middle’ — nobody should get into our house. We played some good competition out of state and they’ve been saying our defense is good.”

Cam Turner

Having a roster with three freshmen and two sophomores, Wilson knows this season has been an adjustment for the Senators.

Dover returned only two starters from last year’s 17-4 squad, which won the conference title.

One of those freshman, point guard Eden Davis, is the team’s leading scorer at 15 points per game. He admits that going from middle school to varsity in one year was a big change.

“But I got used to it,” he said. “Once I got the first game out of the way, I was good. Each practice, it gets better and better each day. It gets easier.”

At the same time, though, Wilson wants the Senators to do their best to win right now, not wait for next year.

“I can’t worry about the future right now, I’ve got to worry about the present,” said Wilson. “I’m thinking about how we have to get ready to play Cape next Tuesday.”

“I want to finish strong mostly for them — our young boys — so they can see that we’re leaving if off right,” said Rush-Wilson. “Then they can take over next year.”

Free throws

•No one could blame Woodbridge superintendent Heath Chasanov for having mixed feelings tonight. Chasanov’s Blue Raiders are hosting Polytech, which features his senior son, Carter, at guard.

•Caesar Rodney’s boys host Smyrna on Friday night in a big Henlopen North showdown. The Eagles won the first meeting, 66-31. But the Riders have won eight of nine games since then.

•St. Thomas More’s 74-70 win over Penn Wood, Pa. on Friday came without senior standout Elias Revelle on the court. The Ravens (11-3) host Milford today at 6 p.m.

•Smyrna’s girls’ program is going to honor its former star player with Betnijah Laney Night on Friday before the Eagles host CR at 7:15 p.m. Laney went on to play at Rutgers and then in the WNBA.

•After starting the season 1-8, Sussex Central’s boys have won three games in a row.

•Dover’s boys are currently in the middle of an 18-day stretch in which they have just one game (against Cape Henlopen on Feb. 7).

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