Milford Boys Dominate Smyrna In a 67-55 Win
By Kevin Eickman
For the first time all season, there was never any doubt. The Milford Buccaneers boys basketball team put in a start to finish effort that demonstrated just how good this team can be. There was little doubt that Milford is learning how to play together and that with each game they are continuing to improve.
Jumping out to a 22-17 lead at the end of the first quarter, the fun was just beginning for Milford. Starting the second quarter, Milford came out in a stall offense that drove the visiting Eagles up the wall. As the seconds ticked away, the sense that Smyrna was finding it harder and harder to cope was evident. As the Smyrna fans booed the slow pace offense by the Bucs, Milford players and fans embraced it. When the dust had settled, Milford ended the quarter by outscoring Smyrna by a total of 14-7, giving them a 36-24 advantage.
Milford continued the domination in the third quarter, long after they had come out of the stall. For the first time all season, Milford was able to get a team down and keep them down. Smyrna had entered the contest with a 4-4 record and even as sophomore Stedman Kpana tried to will his team back with 19 points, it was obvious that Milford would rule the game.
One by one, coach B.J. Joseph began pulling his players off the court. It started with sophomore Shymer Hanzer, a new transfer to Milford and the leading scorer in the game with a career high 25 points. Next off the floor was Tikeace Harris, the emerging junior, who contributed 20 points in the effort. “What a team effort tonight,” commented Harris. “We are really learning to play as a team, it’s a great feeling.” Sophomore Jason Parker also had a big night with 10 points and 12 rebounds, his third double-double of the season.
It didn’t stop until all five of Milford’s starters had left the game. It was a great way for coach B.J. Joseph to acknowledge the contributions that each player has made to get the Buccaneers to this point. After starting the season with an 0-6 record, Milford has worked their way to to 5-6. Talking with the players and coaches after the game, it is easy to see that this is a team on the rise. “We took a big step tonight, this team is learning how to play right in front of us.” commented Coach Joaeph. “These guys are really starting to come together, it’s great to see.”
Catching up with Hanzer, it was obvious that he was happy with how the game turned out. Hanzer who had five 3-pointers in the game, believes that he was able to get such good looks because of the hard work of his teammates. “We worked so well as a team tonight, all the hard work by the guys inside gave me the opportunity to have some great opportunities.”
Coach Joseph believes that this team has what it takes to make it to the State Tournament and that the main reason for the rapid improvement is the hard work the team has put in. “There was so much adversity to start the season, these guys have simply refused to quit,” commented Joseph. “The hard work and sacrifice is really starting to pay off.”
Milford will come off the Martin Luther King Jr. break and host two games against conference rivals Laurel (5-4) and Caesar Rodney (4-9). Victories in these contest could go a long way to determining just how serious the team is about making a playoff run.