Believe it or not, the high school basketball season is nearly at its halfway point making every game meaningful. On Saturday night, St. Mark’s was able to pull off a fourth-quarter rally to sneak by the Dover Senators, 39-37.

The Senators opened the season miserably, dropping six of their first seven contests. However, lately Dover has turned things around and playing much better basketball which translated into three straight wins heading into Saturday’s contest with the Spartans.

St. Mark’s entered Saturday night’s game near the top of the standings at 7-1, winners of five straight – all by double-digits.

Early on Saturday night, both teams showed why they came into the game on winning streaks. While it wasn’t always pretty, both teams were aggressive and did their best to dictate the tempo. After a rough start offensively, Dover got into a groove late in the first to take a two-point lead after one.  

In the second, the Spartans offense started to catch fire as St. Mark’s skillfully found their way through Dover defensive pressure for some tic-tac-toe plays ending with lay-ins.

On the other side, Dover was having some trouble breaking through the Spartan press which led to some turnovers and all-in-all took the Senators out of any offensive flow. After one half, the Spartans led three at 26-23.

After an offensive explosion in the second quarter that saw both teams combine for 31 points, the second half was a very different story.

In the third quarter, the Senators’ defense kept the Spartans to just two points. Dover didn’t allow a field goal to St. Mark’s in the entire quarter, with the Spartans’ two points coming off of free throws.

While their defense was busy locking things down, the Dover offense went into action in the third giving the Senators a four-point lead heading into the final quarter of play.

In the fourth, the Spartans offense caught fire again led by Nick Papa who scored a game-high 22 points. St. Mark’s outscored Dover 11-5 in the quarter and held the Senators scoreless over the final few minutes of the game to preserve the victory.

While it’s certainly a tough loss for Dover, they have little time to lick their wounds. They’re back in action Tuesday when they travel south to take on divisional opponent Sussex Tech (8-3).

For the Spartans, they’ll try to make it seven wins in a row when they travel to Sanford to take on the Warriors on Tuesday afternoon.