By Kevin Eickman
When you attend a Milford girls’ basketball practice, there is no shortage of enthusiasm. Second year coach Leona White, has the team working and having fun all at the same time. The only way that you can change the demeanor of White is by asking her about last season. When discussing last year, White’s eyes narrow and there is a look of disappointment on her face. “Last year was not what we wanted, not in the least,” White commented. “Not qualifying for the tournament was very disappointing, we did not perform up to the level we are capable of.”
With last year behind them, Milford has begun to focus on the task at hand. With a mix of junior and seniors returning, the season sets up for the Lady Bucs to improve on last season’s 9-11 record. So far coach White likes what she sees in this year’s squad. “Everyone has been very focused so far, they are really putting in the effort we need if we are going to improve,” stated White.
Part of coach White’s recipe for success includes team unity, she believes that this year’s team is already starting to bond. “The girls are working together very well, they are being good teammates and in the process of making each other better,” said White.
One player returning for her senior season is Diamond Turner. Playing in the paint is a big responsibility, but one that White thinks Turner is well suited for. “Diamond has been working very hard on her game and it is great to see that effort paying off,” White stated. Turner is looking forward to the season and believes the team has a good season in them “We want to make this a winning year, and make some noise in the tournament.” Turner said.
Running the point again this season for Milford will be junior Myleiris Vazquez. Blessed with speed and play making ability, White belies that Vazquez is well suited to run the offense. “Myleiris is a very intense individual, she has a natural ability to push the ball up the court,” stated White. Like the rest of the Lady Bucs, Vazquez believes this team can be special as well. “Our goal is to win the Henlopen South, and have a successful post season,” Vazquez stated. Vazquez thinks that the effort coach White demands, will pay off down the road. “She works us real hard, and she expects us all to give everything that we have,” Vazquez concluded.
Another player who White expects to provide leadership is senior Jalyn Powell. “Jalyn is a very tough and smart player, who is a natural leader.” said White.“She has the ability to score from almost anywhere on the court, plus she has a very sound defensive game.” Powell thinks that the key to a good year will be balance on both sides of the ball .“We need to execute on offense and defense, if we keep up our intensity on both sides of the ball we will be tough.” she stated.
One player that will see an increase in varsity minutes will be sophomore Jonae Boone. Talking with coach White, she believes that Boone has the ability to be something special. “She can run the point, she plays the wing, she’s a very aggressive player with an outstanding defensive game,” said White. Milford will open up their season with three straight home games, the first of which will be December 6 at 6:15 pm at the Milford Central Academy gym.