By Kevin Eickman
It hasn’t been easy, but it has been rewarding. This young Milford team is growing up right before their fan’s eyes. This team that has had some hard lessons and is taking advantage of the education they have received.
Tuesday night’s game against a 5-5 Laurel team represented a chance for Milford to get to .500 for the first time this season. It also represented a trap, while Milford clearly was the better team heading into the game, one missed step could unravel all the gains they had made over the last five games “I was real worried about this game,” commented Coach B.J. Joseph. “We knew going in that we should win it, but we also knew that at some point we would stumble a bit.”
While Milford looked a little flat in the first half, they ended the first half with a comfortable 42-29 lead over the visiting Bulldogs. During the third quarter there appeared to be little doubt that the Buccaneers would emerge with the victory. With the game progressing in Milford’s favor, a special night was developing for one particular Buccaneer. As has become the custom during this winning streak, it was another players turn to step up. This time it was sophomore Jason Parker, who lit up the gym with a game high 30 points. “When I was open, the guys got me the ball,” Parker said. “We are always looking for the open man, tonight I was the guy that was open and I made some shots.”
Milford had stretched their advantage to 20 points as the fourth quarter began and there looked to be little doubt that they would enjoy an easy victory. However, looks can be deceiving. With each poor pass, with each bad decision, Milford allowed the Bulldogs back in the game. Instead of protecting the lead, they exposed it. To the credit of the young team however, they never wavered. “A win is a win, this team earned a victory tonight, and that’s what tonight was all about,” Coach Joseph said. “They responded when they had to, it’s just another lesson they are learning, I’m very proud of them.”
The 86-80 victory put Milford at .500. There second victory of the week, a 63-51 victory while hosting Caesar Rodney Thursday night brought Milford to a record of 7-6. Despite the negative start to the season, Milford finds themselves in serious contention to make a run at the playoffs. “This team can do it, they have the talent,” commented Joseph. “It was our goal to start the season and we continue to make it our mission.”
What is amazing is that Milford has a chance to make a run at the Henlopen North Title and with the momentum they have going it just might be possible. However, there is no way it will be easy. Milford plays their next three games on the road against Dover, Lake Forest and Smyrna. With Dover and Smyrna having a score to settle, and Lake a local rival, Milford will be facing a tough test.