Dover set for Slam Dunk spotlight Sunday night vs. Sanford

Dover Jordan Allen by .

“All the big teams are there,” said Dover senior Jordan Allen. “The best teams in Delaware are there and the best out-of-state teams are there. We know we fit in.” (Delaware State News/Dave Chambers

DOVER — Out of the 19 teams in this year’s Slam Dunk to the Beach, only six are from Delaware.

That fact isn’t lost on Stephen Wilson and his Dover High boys’ basketball players.

“I just like the fact that, out of the six teams, we’re the capital city,” said Wilson, the Senators’ coach. “We get to represent Delaware. It means something to us to have ‘Dover’ across our chests.”

Dover (3-2) will get its chance in the spotlight Sunday night when it faces perennial Delaware power Sanford (1-1) at 9 p.m. at Cape Henlopen High.

The marquee matchup is the last of six slated for today, the opening day of the revived Slam Dunk to the Beach tournament, which returned to the post-Christmas Day scene last year.

A total of 19 teams from seven states and Washington, D.C. will take part in the three-day event at Cape Henlopen. The tourney kicks off at noon Sunday with Appoquinimink playing Maret School (D.C.) at noon.

Host Cape Henlopen is also in action Sunday with the Vikings taking on Bishop McNamara (Md.) at 6 p.m.

There are six games slated for each day with an afternoon session and an evening session.

La Lumiere School, from Indiana, which is ranked third nationally in the latest USA Today “expert poll,” is probably the biggest-name team in this year’s field.

Wilson took Middletown to Slam Dunk in its previous incarnation. He knows the tournament is a great opportunity for his players to not only see some great basketball teams but to get seen by some college recruiters themselves.

“It’s a business trip but we’ll still find a way to get some fun into it,” said Wilson. “We’ll let the kids walk around. It gives them a chance to be around those guys.

“I’m happy that the kids get to be on that stage. It gives them a chance to be seen by some college coaches. It gives us an opportunity to bond in the hotel. And it makes us feel like we are a little bit elite being around those guys.”

The Senators have played some big games against Sanford in the past. The Warriors beat Dover, 55-45, in the 2010 state championship game before downing Dover again in the second round of the 2013 state tourney.

Sanford has won seven state titles overall, including three in a row between 2010-12.

“It is a showcase game,” said Wilson. “I know people have been looking forward to it. It gives us a chance to go against a quality program and see where we’re at. … We’re not going down there just to go, we’re going down there trying to win.”

In the Senators’ second Slam Dunk game, slated for Monday at 3 p.m., Dover will face Washington, D.C.’s Friendship Collegiate Academy. The Knights are led by senior Alani Moore, a Temple commit who is ranked as the No. 35 point guard in the country.

The Senators want to prove they belong at Slan Dunk.

“All the big teams are there,” said senior Jordan Allen. “The best teams in Delaware are there and the best out-of-state teams are there. We know we fit in.”

Free throws

Cape Henlopen’s second game is the final contest of the tournament. The Vikings take on Appoquinimink on Tuesday at 9 p.m. … La Lumiere has seven players who are ranked in the top 50 at their position by ESPN. Senior James Banks, rated as the No. 6 center, has committed to Texas. … Paul XI Catholic (Va.) has players committed to Louisville and Pittsburgh. … Saint Benedict’s Prep (N.J.) lists Tyler Ennis, Samardo Samuels, J.R. Smith and Lance Thomas among its NBA alumni.

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