Last season, the Dover Senators were just a basket away from upsetting Salesianum, the eventual DIAA Boys Basketball state champion, in the second round of the tournament.

With what could have been still fresh, the Senators are ready to the take the next step in what head coach Stephen Wilson calls a “process.”

Now one of the favorites to take the Henlopen North, Wilson and his team understand it’s a long, challenging season and a title certainly won’t be handed over with top contenders like Caesar Rodney, Sussex Tech and Smyrna in the way.

“It will not happen overnight, nor will it happen because we’re Dover,” Wilson said. “It will only happen by hard work, pushing yourself and your teammates.”

The Senators have plenty of talent back from the playoff team, including the standout junior guard duo of Elijah Allen and Eden Davis. Last season, both were dangerous from nearly any range and plan to grow their offensive game.

With senior forwards Mohamed Conde and Eric White and junior forward Brendon Parker back and a handful of players up from JV, the Senators will look to build around Allen and Davis.

“The strength of our team is no secret, everyone knows we have some experienced junior guards,” Wilson said. “Our big guys are competing and getting better. They’re already rebounding hard. Now we are adding other aspects to their game to balance out our team.”

When it comes to that process, they’re working hard today in preparation for bigger days in the months ahead. While a hot start is the goal of every team, Dover’s goals are loftier, as they look to use the grind of the regular season to mold them into a team ready for the postseason challenge.

“We’re building for February and March. That doesn’t mean we want to lose now,” Wilson said. “We prepare and practice to win every time we step on the floor.”

The Senators will be challenged early, with meetings against Sussex Tech and Smyrna to go along with matchups with William Penn, Cape and Caesar Rodney in their first ten games.

With that in mind, Wilson knows what kind of team he wants to see take the court.

“I’m looking for team building, step-by-step,” Wilson said. “I’m looking for willing basketball players that want to work as a team on and off the floor, on the defensive and offensive sides of the floor.

“We have some experience, not as much as people think, but we’re getting better day-by-day.”