TOWAMENCIN >> Darius Ellis has some advice for all the big men out there.
“Everyone should know this. When you get bigger, you just gotta play big,” Dock’s 6-foot-7, 290-pound senior said. “You have to enjoy it.”
Ellis practiced what he preached, scoring 27 points and wearing a smile from ear to ear, leading top-seeded Dock to a resounding 71-51 win over No. 4 Calvary Christian Wednesday night.
“It’s amazing. To be a senior, it’s like do or die. I love this team to death,” he said.
The Pioneers have plenty of life left, having clinched a spot in states, and, they will play for the District 1-2A Title Saturday at 2 p.m. at Lower Merion High against No. 3 Church Farm.
“Last year was the heartbreaker,” Ellis said of last year’s district semifinal loss to Church Farm. “Now, it feels like we’re on the right path.
“But first, take care of that district trip. And then, we have states. Baby steps – that’s what I should say.”
Ellis’ big footprints were all over this game. He dominated down low, scoring 15 points in the fourth quarter alone.
“They didn’t have the size to match up with him,” Pioneers coach Mike Fergus said, “so we just kept going into him.
“I’m happy for these guys. They’re nice kids and they play hard.”
Tight early >> Jalen Adams’ (18 pts) twisting, turning drive down the lane produced the first field goal of the night by either squad, and moments later he drove again for another Calvary basket.
Adams’ reverse layin pushed the Cougars ahead 6-5 midway through the first, and then he stepped out to sink a three and pull Calvary within 10-9.
But Dock had the lead after eight minutes.
Ellis was battling his way underneath, and he showed his range and poise by nailing a buzzer-beating three, providing Dock a 13-9 edge after one.
Said Ellis: “I think that was the thing that had me saying, ‘yes, we have this game.'”
Making a push >> Dock began the second quarter with an 8-0 run.
The Pioneer defense began to clamp down and force turnovers, and Dock – particularly Dallas Wilder (15 pts) – got out running.
Wilder made a steal and hit a pullup jumper to stretch Dock’s lead to 23-15, then moments later he scored underneath to widen the gap to 10.
After Devon Jainlett (11 pts) scored on a rebound for Dock (21-5), Wilder again came up with a steal and took it all the way in for two, improving Dock’s advantage to 29-16.
The Pioneers would take a 31-21 lead into the break.
Dock broke the game open in the third.
Ellis scored inside to get Dock going and then Jainlett made his way to the basket for another two.
An Ellis to Wilder connection triggered a fast break, ending with a bucket by Wilder, and another fast break by the Pioneers led to a pair of free throws by Steve Martin.
By the time Martin scored on a coast-to-coast layup, Dock’s lead had grown to 16.
Calvary put together an 8-0 run to cut into the lead, but Dock got control back in the final moments of the third.
A baseline drive by Ralph Saint-Fleur and a three by Jainlett gave Dock a 46-33 cushion heading into the fourth.
Ellis took it from there.
District 1-2A Semifinals
Dock 71, Calvary Christian 51
#4 Calvary 9 12 12 18 – 51
#1 Dock 13 18 15 25 – 71
Calvary Christian: Doug Werner 0 2-2 2, Toi Dixon 2 5-8 9, Luke Potts 2 0-0 6, Gabe Conover 5 1-2 11, Jalen Adams 7 3-3 18, Brandon Redard 0 1-2 1, Nate Rodway 0 4-6 4. Totals 16 16-23 51.
Dock: Ralph Saint Fleur 2 0-0 5, Darius Ellis 10 6-8 27, Devon Jainlett 5 0-0 11, Dallas Wilder 6 3-4 15, Roman Kuhn 0 2-2 2, Deuce Dorsey 1 0-0 3, Steve Martin 3 2-2 8. Totals 27 13-16 71.
3-pointers: C-Potts 2, Adams; D-Saint Fleur, Ellis, Jainlett, Dorsey.
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