A minute can be an eternity in basketball and for the Dover Senators, the final minute of the 2019 Boys Basketball State Championship game, may go down as the longest minute in the program’s history.
Saturday, at the Bob Carpenter Center, the Senators held a one-point advantage over No. 1 Sanford - just 59 seconds away from completing a perfect season while also bringing Dover their first boys’ basketball state title.
Though, what might have felt like destiny at times on Saturday, was not to be.
After Sanford scored the go-ahead basket on their next possession to go up by one point, they turned a steal from Dover into two more points, dealing the Senators a heartbreaking 48-45 loss.
Despite a strong effort from their core, including Elijah Allen, Eden Davis, Jyheim Spencer ad Eric White - the Senators were unable to close the deal against the experienced Warriors.
The Senators were tenacious on defense all afternoon, pressuring the Warriors at every turn. On the offensive end, Dover rotated well, looking to spread Sanford’s defense out to open up cutting lanes to the basket.
Dover’s focus on both ends gave them a chance to win and many would argue they deserved a better fate. However, as the Senators now painfully know, there can be only one winner.
Allen led all scorers with 19 points, followed by Davis with 11 points to lead the way for the Senators.
Spencer scored eight while pulling down six rebounds and White finished with a team-high seven boards for Dover.
Jyaire Davis led the way for Sanford, scoring a team-hgh 14 points while also adding eight rebounds. Corey Perkins contributed 10 points for the Warriors and three huge steals in the victory.
Neither team shot the ball well in the first quarter on Saturday, leading to a slim one-point advantage for Sanford, 13-12, heading into the second quarter.
In the second, things picked up a little bit but both sides still seemed to be feeling one another out; at halftime, Sanford led the Senators, 24-19.
The Warriors continued to front-run in the third, but a desperation three at the buzzer by Davis cut the Sanford lead to just a basket, at 34-32, heading into the final stanza.
In the fourth, Allen tried to put the game on his back, finishing perfect from the field and scoring 11 of this 19 points in the final quarter.
Just a minute in, Allen hit three-pointers on consecutive possessions, giving the Senators a 38-36 lead early in the fourth.
Dover would increase their lead to two scores, 42-38, after a layup from Wanya Wise.
After a Warriors’ free-throw cut the Senator lead back to three, Sanford’s Corey Perkins sunk three free-throws after being fouled on a three-point attempt, tying the score at 42-42.
Another Perkins score gave Sanford back the lead, but Allen once again responded the other way - going hard to the basket for a layup and an and-one to put Dover back on top, 45-44, with under a minute to go.
Sanford would again retake the lead when Jyare Davis found a loose ball under the net and laid it up for two, giving the Warriors a slim, 46-45 lead with 29 seconds left in the fourth.
On Dover’s next possession, Sanford’s Hassan Perkins stole the ball near the top of the key leading to an easy lay-in on the other end by Corey Perkins - putting Sanford up by three with just seconds to go.
The Senators would call a time-out and get one more look at a tying three, but the shot came up short.