SMYRNA — Jaheim Harrell couldn’t miss from behind the three-point line.
The Dover High guard drained seven three-pointers, four in the first half alone, Tuesday night to lead his Senators to a convincing 76-52 road win over division rival Smyrna High.
“My teammates encouraged me to keep shooting the ball,” Harrell said. “So, they kept feeding me the ball and I kept doing what I was supposed to do.”
“I thought he shot the ball well tonight,” said Dover coach Stephen Wilson. “He’s the leader of our team, he’s our All-State player coming back, but he has no problem sharing that basketball and giving our guys a chance to do it as well.”
Taking the court for the first time since Dec. 21, Dover’s big win snaps a two-game losing streak to the Eagles (2-2 Henlopen North, 2-3 overall) after being swept by them last season.
Dover’s last win over Smyrna was a 76-69 victory in Jan. 24, 2020.
Dover (4-0 North, 6-1 overall) also has division wins over Cape Henlopen High, Polytech High and Sussex Central High this season. They have two more division matchups this week against Milford High and Caesar Rodney High.
Harrell led the scoring for the Senators with a game-high 27 points while Tyrone Tolson netted 15, Denim Perkins added 11 and Elijah Sessoms put up seven.
Lance Rainford (six), Amir Hite (four), Kendall Abrams (two), Noah Allen (two) and Byron Evans (two) rounded out Dover’s scoring.
Forward Elisha Gregory led Smyrna in scoring with 14 points, while Devin DeMoe had 10 and Daniel Herro recorded nine.
The fast-paced matchup featured eight first-half lead changes but the second half was all Dover.
All nine of Herro’s points came from beyond the three-point arc as he knocked down a trio of long balls in the first quarter to keep the score close, 17-14 in Dover’s favor, through the first eight minutes.
Ahead 37-29 at the halftime break, Dover broke the game open early in the second half, quickly building up a double-digit lead less than three minutes in.
“I didn’t think the defensive intensity was there in the first half,” said Wilson. “I thought that we were lallygagging a little bit and I thought we just weren’t playing hard and were focused like we should be.”
After Wilson’s halftime speech to his team, Dover’s defensive intensity picked up in the second half and they went on to outscore the Eagles 38-22 in the third and fourth quarters.
Sessoms, the senior forward heading to University of Delaware for football next fall, overpowered the opposition under the basket in the third quarter to help the Senators pull away.
“Going into halftime, Coach told us we really needed to dig in even more, go out there and ball and play Dover basketball in the second half, and that’s what we did,” said Sessoms.
Smyrna’s sophomore forward Marcus Beckham came off the bench at the end of the third quarter to score six consecutive points to pull the Eagles to within seven points, 55-48.
But, the momentum was short-lived as Harrell ended the quarter with a three-pointer and opened the fourth quarter with another to steal the momentum back and cruise to the 24-point win.