By Kevin Eickman
This was not what Milford wanted. After getting off to a 4-2 start, more importantly a 2-0 start in the Henlopen south, Milford faced two tough road tests this wee. These games will go a long way in determining who will win the Henlopen south division title. By the time the dust had settled, it was time for the Buccaneers to do some soul searching.
Wednesday Milford traveled to Laurel to face the 5-1 (3-0) Bulldogs. While Milford got off to a solid start, they had a difficult time getting into a rhythm against their hosts. With solid play, Milford had worked their way to a double digit advantage through the second quarter. Unfortunately Laurel dug deep, and the only thing the Bucs had to show for their effort was a 40-38 halftime advantage.
While the two point lead was better than trailing, the half featured missed opportunities and a lingering sense that the game would be a difficult one for the Bucs. The feeling was well warranted, as senior Tikeace Harris drew his fourth foul of the game and Bulldogs wasted little time erasing the halftime deficit. Laurel came out on fire and quickly ran away from the Buccaneers. By the time the third quarter ended, Milford found themselves on the wrong end of a 58-49 score.
The Buccaneers would eventually close the gap in the fourth quarter, as Harris hit a pair of big three pointers, on his way to a game high 25 points. Despite the effort however, the time Harris was out of the game, proved costly for the Bucs. While Milford would eventually make the final score a respectable 83-79 final, it was still a a loss none the less.
On Friday night the Bucs once again traveled south to battle another contender for the Henlopen South, the Woodbridge Blue Raiders. If Wednesday was bad, Friday was absolutely brutal. It was a night in which the Milford offense could never really get going.
Woodbridge ran almost exclusively in a zone defense the entire game, and the Bucs never seemed to have an answer for it. Milford had poor penetration into the lane the entire game and the inability to create solid scoring opportunities was evident throughout.
The result of the sputtering first half offense was just 18 points for Milford. Coach B.J. Joseph gave credit to the Raiders, he felt that the Bucs had arguably their worst offensive performance of the year falling to Woodbridge 69-59. “We just came out flat tonight, and we could never seem to get it going.” commented Joseph. “Somethings happened the last two games that I just cannot put my finger on.”
Losing their first two games coming out of the break has dealt a severe blow to Milford’s hopes of winning the Henlopen South. If they want to make the playoffs they have a lot of work to do. “We just have not been ourselves lately and we need to get it figured out,” stated Joseph. “We have not been passing well, shooting well or rebounding well. We are going to have to work hard and get ourselves where we need to be.”
Milford 4-4 (2-2) will attempt to get back on track as they travel to Indian River on Thursday, before hosting Saint Elizabeth Saturday afternoon at 4:30.