By Kevin Eickman
Last year while the girls basketball team was happy to get a win, they were just as content to improve as the season went along. This year it is a bit different, the bar has been raised and coach Leona White is demanding more from her players. She is not as tolerant of mental lapses and poor performances by her squad.
“The girls know what is expected of them, they know what their jobs are and they need to get it done,” White stated. “We cannot come out with a poor performance like today and expect to be champions at the end of the season.”
While it is not unusual for a coach to be critical of her team, what makes coach White’s observation particularly pointed is they came following a 62-23 victory over visiting Laurel this past Saturday. It was a game that saw Milford put in their worst quarter of the year to start the game. With poor passing, poor shooting and overall flat play, Milford struggled to a 11-9 advantage against the 2-6 Bulldogs.
Following their poor first quarter, Milford would put on a defensive clinic as they smothered the visitors. Possession after possession Milford forced Laurel turnovers. While the talent of Milford rose to the surface, White believed there was a lack of crispness to their game. “We were just very sloppy today, we got the job done, and we will take the win, but we were sloppy,” she commented.
The high scorers on Saturday were junior Xitali Roman (15) and senior Diamond Turner (14). The two girls are forming quite a formidable tandem in the paint this season. Enabling point guard, junior Myleiris Vasquez to spread the floor for Milford. Catching up with Turner after the game, she thinks that while the Bucs had a tough start to the game, the fact that they buckled down when they needed to reflects on the character of this year’s squad. “We had a horrible start to the game today, we were kind of sluggish at the start of the game, but we overcame that by applying tremendous defensive pressure,” Diamond stated.
Talking with sophomore Joane Boone, who has been a key contributor to the squad this year, she also thought the team had a slow start on Saturday. “There is no doubt we came out slow, but we turned up our intensity the rest of the way and came away with the win,” commented Boone.
The Saturday game was the second of the week for Milford, the first was a solid 72-30 home victory over Woodbridge on Thursday. The two victories moved the Bucs to a record of 7-1 (4-0) for the season. Turner believes the team has some work to do, but thinks they have what it takes to be a force this year.
“I think we can definitely win the Southern Division, if we keep on working hard and continue to improve,” stated Turner. “It is all about the effort we put into it, if we play up to our potential, we will be a team that can go far.”
With the bar set so high for this year’s squad, it will be a fun ride the rest of the way. Milford will have a tough week this week, traveling to Seaford on Monday, Laurel on Tuesday, before hosting Sussex Central on Thursday for a 6:15 tip-off.