In an exciting but also disappointing week for Milford High School basketball, both the girls’ and boys’ teams won their first playoff game, but then exited the tournament in the second round.
The Lady Bucs
The girls started off the week with a 58-42 win on Tuesday, March 1 over Howard. The game started off with a 17 to 17 tie at 2:24 in the first quarter.
After a 17-17 tie at the 2:24 mark in the first half, the two teams traded points throughout the rest with Milford leading at the half, 25- 21.
The girls soon pulled away from Howard and led by 11 points with 6:10 left in the fourth quarter. With 1:46 to go in the game, Milford’s 13-point lead was too much for Howard which managed to score only four more points over the rest of the game.
The Milford girls were led by junior Aaliyah Davis who scored 21 points, while senior Destiny Pierce also scored 15 points.
Two nights later, the Lady Bucs faced a Henlopen Conference opponent in the second round, Cape Henlopen. Milford had already lost twice to Cape, the eventual 2011 state tournament runner-up, during the regular season, and the Bucs ended up falling short in the tourney, 58-44. Milford lacked the scoring from Morgan Anton and Kaitlin Reynolds that they had gotten in the Howard game.
Only three of the Milford girls scored more than two points in the Cape game while Cape had six players score at least two points. The Lady Bucs also had trouble keeping Cape player Meg Bartley under control all night. She scored 18 points and surpassed the 1,000-point mark for her career.
Even though the Milford girls lost, senior Janee Williams believes that the team greatly improved from last year. She believes that having a winning record, going to the playoffs and winning a game in the first round are all signs of improvement.
“The team did a whole 180 and turned the team around from last year,” said Williams.
Williams also believes that she improved throughout the season and that being on this year’s team helped with her teamwork and taught her how to really trust and rely on her teammates.
The boys’ team defeated Wilmington Christian, 64-53, in the opening round before falling to Hodgson, 63-58, in the second round.
In the opening round game, the boys trailed by 17 points during the third quarter, but they mounted a comeback to win by 11 behind strong play from seniors D.J. Cephas and Shane Letthand.
In the second round game with Hodgson Vo-Tech, the Bucs had strong performances from many players in a fairly evenly-matched contest, but Hodgson snuffed any Milford rally by making key foul shots in the final minute.
Despite the loss, Cephas believes that his team greatly improved from last season.
“I think [the season] has been really beneficial for the program because before these last few seasons the Milford basketball teams were not as talented. Our team really turned it around by working hard and showed that it is possible to strive with a little determination. So as a whole, I think it was a good benefit,” said Cephas.