By Kevin Eickman
After suffering two consecutive Henlopen South losses in the previous week, the Milford boys basketball team had a chance to right the ship. The Bucs opened their week on the road at Indian River on Thursday in what amounted to a must win.
The game at Indian River was a big test for the Bucs and it was a challenge they answered with grit and determination. Early returns in the game indicated that Milford was in trouble. Still unable to awaken from their slumber, the Bucs found themselves trailing by nine points at the half. Milford responded by turning up the defensive intensity and generating fast break opportunities. Slowly the Bucs chipped away at the lead and by the time the third quarter had come to a close the score was 56-55 Indians.
Key in the third quarter run for the Bucs was senior Tikeace Harris, who netted nine of his 19 points in the period. With the Indians in foul trouble, Milford stepped up and took control of the game. This time it was senior Jason Parker who had the hot hand. Parker who finished the game with 30 points for the game was a force in the fourth quarter. The win moved the Bucs to 5-2 (3-2) and gave an indication that Milford might be turning things around.
On Saturday afternoon however, Milford hosted Saint Elizabeth’s. It was a game that Milford knew would be a tough one and the way the offense struggled throughout bore out those fears. While Milford would end the first quarter with a 16-10 advantage, there was a sinking feeling that squandered opportunities would come back to haunt the Bucs.
Slowly but surely the visiting Vikings began to find their footing and by the time the fourth quarter rolled around, Milford held just a 50-47 lead. St Elizabeth’s wasted little time taking the lead in the fourth quarter and while Milford would have several chances to tie the game or take the lead, they could not get the job done.
“We had our chances in the game, we just did not convert the opportunities we needed too,” coach B.J. Joseph stated. “We have been struggling on offense recently and it has to change. We need both Harris and Parker to be effective to win.”
If there was a silver lining for the game, it was the fact it was a non-conference contest. That fact was of little consolation to Joseph. “A loss is a loss, if we cannot get our act together we are going to continue to lose.” he stated.
The Bucs are still very much alive in the South, but will need to almost run the table to earn themselves the Division crown. The Bucs Host Laurel on Tuesday at 6:15 before traveling to Sussex Central on Thursday at 6:15. They wrap up the week hosting Seaford on Saturday at 5:30. “Every game is so important from here on out, we cannot afford to let any of the get away,” Joseph stated. “We have to get our act together and start winning basketball games.”