Dover’s #15 Isaiah Mowbray (left) and Caesar Rodney’s #32 Joseph Williams colliding after going for the ball on Friday.
CAMDEN – Every seat in Caesar Rodney’s sold-out gym was occupied a full 45 minutes before tipoff Friday night, the kind of atmosphere that often unnerves a young team.
But the Dover Senators – without a senior on their roster – seized the momentum early and led all the way in a 59-46 boys basketball victory over the archrival Riders.
“To be as young as we are, I thought they handled it well,” Dover coach Stephen Wilson said. “The bottom line, we’ve just got to win. It wasn’t the prettiest game, but I thought we did what we had to do to win the game.”
Sophomore Jordan Allen poured in 20 points – including five 3-pointers – and junior Troy Scott added 13 as the Senators (2-0 overall, 2-0 Henlopen North) continued to erase the memories of last year’s 8-12 season.
“To be coming into their rival in the second game of the season and be able to perform like they did, I think it’s good for them,” Wilson said. “It’s going to help us down the road.”
Caesar Rodney (2-1, 2-1) opened the season with close wins over Smyrna and Sussex Central, but couldn’t muster enough offense in this one. The Riders fell behind 11-2 in the opening two minutes, as Allen opened the game with a 3, Terrence Woodlin banked in three layups and Steven Justice drove for a Dover score.
“We put some pressure on them, we made them turn the ball over, and we capitalized on that a little bit,” Wilson said.
Jameir Sudler rattled in a 3 from the left corner to pull CR within 13-9, and the Riders cut the lead to 18-15 on Kashwon Davis’ baseline jumper with 5:42 left in the second quarter. The teams traded scores until Dover’s Scott connected for a three-point play. Then Allen beat the halftime buzzer with an off-balance 3-pointer from the right wing to push the Senators’ lead to 30-19.
“I was told with the quarter running down to get the ball and take the shot,” Allen said. “It gave us a lot of momentum. Everybody was energetic after that.”
Dover quickly pushed it to 34-19 on Allen’s steal and layup and a tip-in by Justice early in the third quarter. But the Riders chipped away, getting within 45-34 on Wontrell Hammond’s score off an offensive rebound.
Sudler and Jaquan Hooks opened the fourth quarter with layups to cut Dover’s lead to single digits, 46-38, with 5:41 to play. But Scott hit two free throws and Allen turned another steal into a layup to get the Senators out of danger.
“Jordan is working hard,” Wilson said. “He worked hard this summer, he’s working hard on his grades. … I think the way he’s progressing on the court is where we want him to be at. There are things he still has to work on, but he’s such a lovable kid that wants to go out there and learn.”
Tristan Patterson scored 12 for CR, and Sudler added 10. Both teams struggled at the free-throw line, as the Senators hit just 10 of 29 and the Riders made only 6 of 22. But Dover’s defense held off CR down the stretch.
“It’s good,” Allen said. “It gives us a learning experience for the biggest stages.”
The Senators won on a pretty big stage Friday night.
Contact Brad Myers at email@example.com. Follow on Twitter: @BradMyersTNJ