By Kevin Eickman
This was not an easy game, not by any stretch of the imagination. With the Milford Girls basketball team hosting Lake Forest in their home opener, Milford had a difficult time getting out of their own way. While Milford exhibited a tenacious defense, the Lady Spartans were more then prepared for the physical style of play both teams demonstrated.
The first quarter a turnover fest, with both teams having a hard time controlling the basketball. Every time a team looked to be getting in a rhythm, the other would cause a turnover, force a poor shot, or simply stop the play with a foul. The result was a first quarter, though not pleasing to the eye, offered an indication as to just how physical the game would be.
As a result of the physical nature of the game the first quarter ended with Milford holding a 8-5 lead. More significantly, sophomore Xitali Roman picked up her third fowl of the game, as the second quarter began. With Roman on the bench, it presented a difficult situation for Milford under the glass. “With Xitali on the bench we found ourselves in a difficult situation,” coach Leona White said. “We were forced to go to the bench early, and nothing was easy after that.”
Lake Forest gained their footing in the second quarter and continually had success against the Milford press defense. Gradually, but with confidence and resolve, the Spartans began to take control of the game. As play progressed, it was clear that Milford was in trouble. When the dust had settled, the Bucs found themselves on the short end of a 20-14 halftime score.
With the second half of play getting underway, Lake wasted little time going right at Roman. Working the ball inside, Roman committed her fourth foul of the game, and once again found herself a seat on the bench. This time however, Milford made the adjustments they needed to claw their way back into the game. A change in defensive approach for the Bucs proved beneficial. Changing from press to man defense changed the tempo of the game. “Lake was breaking the press rather easily, so we went man to man and it really payed off,” White stated.
While the defense was better, Milford was still having a hard time on offense. With questionable shot selection and poor ball security, the Bucs continued to shoot themselves in the foot. Slowly but surely however, Milford found themselves back in the game. With 3:00 left in the third quarter Milford finally found themselves and tied the game at 24 a piece, when freshman Jamesiha launched a three point dagger that hit nothing bet net.
While Lake would battle back, the fourth quarter was all Milford. The Bucs salted away the game as sophomore Jonea Boone hit the her second three pointer of the contest with 2:13 left in the game. The basket gave Milford a 37-32 lead that they would not relinquish.
Talking with coach White after the game, she was pleased with how the girls battled back in this game “They really learned a lot about themselves tonight, they never gave up and their effort paid off,” commented White. “We have a lot of work to do to get where we want to be, but a win against a quality team like Lake is huge.”
Milford will host Laurel on Tuesday and Cape Henlopen on Thursday, game time for both contests is 6:15 pm at the Milford Central Academy gymnasium.