By Kevin Eickman
The Milford Buccaneers boys’ basketball team had a tough time of it in the just concluded week. The good news, however, is that while it was tough, it was not a disaster. On Tuesday the Bucs hosted Caesar Rodney in their home opener. In what looked like it might be an easy win, Milford found themselves wondering what went wrong.
Jumping out early against the Riders, Milford was firing on all cylinders early in the contest. The senior Duo of Jason Parker and Tikeace Harris were both off to solid starts in the first half. As a result of their play, Milford was able to take a 32-16 advantage in the first half.
There was one small problem however, they both found themselves in foul trouble. With both players finding themselves on the bench for a great deal of the second half, Milford struggled on both ends of the floor. The visiting Riders wasted little time getting themselves back into the game, outscoring the Buccaneers 20-4 in the third quarter. Even after they returned to action, they struggled offensively, and had no answer for the Caesar Rodney zone. When the dust had settled, the result was an ugly 63-52 loss, and a lot of questions that needed to be answered.
The one silver lining to the loss was that it was a non-divisional game. “While you never want to lose a game, it was one we can learn from, that won’t hurt us too much down the road,” stated coach B.J. Joseph.
On Thursday Milford hosted the Delmar Wildcats, and early in the game it looked as if this could be another long night for the Bucs. Early in the first quarter, Milford was once again having a difficult time against the zone defense. “I don’t know if it was a product of the tough loss on Tuesday, but we simply couldn’t get it going early in this one,” Joseph stated.
As the quarter wore on however, Milford seemed to gain their footing. Paced by the games top scorer Harris (33 points), Milford began to slowly assert themselves. As a result of their efforts, Milford found themselves with a 36-30 halftime lead.
One issue in the game came when Parker appearing to struggle with health issue. As a result the Milford offense did not flow as well as they would have liked. This allowed the Wildcats to work their way back into the game, as they put together a run late in the third quarter. The run concluded as Delmar made a three pointer, to take the lead 48-45.
The Delmar lead was short lived however, as Harris hit a three pointer of his own to knot the game back up. “I was looking for a shot there, he was leaning off me a bit, so I just went boom with it,” Harris stated. From there on out, it was all Milford as they buckled down on defense and continued to make their shots on offense.
A key in the game was the work of senior Octavion Wilson, who was a force in the paint all evening long. Wilson grabbed twenty rebounds on the night and every one of them seemed to come at an important time. “This is a game we needed. We want to win something this year, and winning this game helps us get to it,” Coach Joseph stated.
The Bucs will be participating in the Governors Challenge at the Wicomico Civic Center on the December 26 and 27.