But Jordan Allen says he likes being there.
And, if the game’s on the line, that’s even better.
“That’s what I dream about,” said Allen, the Senators’ standout junior.
Allen definitely showed his confidence on Monday night, sinking four straight free throws in the closing minutes to give Dover a much-needed 72-68, double-overtime victory over Smyrna in a Henlopen Conference Northern Division showdown.
Dover (6-3 North, 7-7 overall) had lost seven of its last 10 games — with the last five of those setbacks all coming by two points or less. That includes a tough, one-point loss to the Eagles (5-3, 10-4) on a last-second shot last Wednesday.
So it was pretty satisfying for the Senators to finally pull out a nail-biter for a change. The loss snapped a five-game winning streak for Smyrna.
“You’ve just got to fight through adversity, fight through the bumps and bruises,” said Allen, who netted a game-high 28 points. “We never give up. It feels good to get back above water now.”
“It does feel like a big relief to have one of these go our way,” said Dover coach Stephen Wilson. “They’re happy, they deserve it. We work hard. For one of these to go our way definitely feels good.”
Allen made a pair of foul shots with 1:34 remaining in the second OT to give the Senators the lead for good at 69-67. The free throws came after Smyrna was called for a technical foul.
Then, after the Eagles got one point back on a free throw of its own with 1:12 on the clock, Dover was able to run the clock until Smyrna was forced to foul Allen with only 16.2 seconds remaining.
Allen, who went 7-of-10 from the foul line for the game, again sank both shots to give the Senators a 71-68 lead. The Eagles missed a two-point shot with about 10 seconds remaining, Troy Scott grabbed the rebound and Terrence Woodlin’s free throw with 1.1 seconds left finally iced the victory.
Dover shot 18-of-29 from the foul line in the game but was 11-of-14 in the two overtimes.
“They made free throws,” said Wilson. “We’ve been working on them.”
Four Senators finished in double figures: Allen, Bryan Pettit (15), Woodlin (13) and Thomas Hoskins (10). Woodlin also hit a free throw with 8.2 seconds left in regulation to tie the game at 53-53.
Woodlin followed that by blocking a Smyrna shot in the lane with just a few seconds remaining to send the contest to OT.
Ja’vier Worthy (16), Latrelle Lee (15) and Donte Ritchie (14) all scored in double digits for Smyrna. The Eagles were 25-of-32 from the foul line.
This was the second of seven straight home games for Dover. The Senators next host Cape Henlopen on Thursday night.
Wilson just wants his players to keep plugging away and hope they can string together some victories.
“Our goal is to win as many games as we can so we can get to the state tournament,” he said. “We’ve got to get to 12 or 13 wins to get to the state tournament. If we can do that, anything can happen.”
CR girls keeping busy
The Caesar Rodney girls (11-3) face a crucial stretch of the season when it plays four games in the next eight days.
It starts with a 7:15 p.m. home game today against St. Mark’s (6-7). CR had lost four in a row to the Spartans before dumping them, 41-16, last season.
On Saturday, the Riders host Sussex Central at 2 p.m. in a showdown that could decide the Henlopen Conference Northern Division title.
CR will be trying to figure out a way to get past Central after falling to the Knights, 69-47, on Jan. 20.
The Riders then finish things off on Feb. 9. by hosting rival Dover at 7:15 p.m. The Senators (11-3) start this week with a 10-game winning streak.
After the Dover game, however, CR has just two contests scheduled in the next 14 days.
•Polytech’s boys’ squad will put its 12-1 record on the line today in a 6 p.m. home matchup with Hodgson (9-5). The Silver Eagles have won three in a row.
The Panthers lost back-to-back games to Hodgson before posting a 54-49 over the Silver Eagles last winter. Hodgson is in its first season under head coach Tony Coleman.
•Senior Randy DuPont has had a big impact on the Woodbridge High in his first season after transferring from Stephen Decatur, Md. He’s averaging 20 points in the Raiders’ last five games.
•CR’s boys probably will be expecting a low-scoring game today when it plays at St. Mark’s (10-4) in a 7:15 p.m. contest. The Spartans have given up more than 38 points in only two games this season.
Sports editor Andy Walter can be reached at 741-8227 or firstname.lastname@example.org.