By Kevin Eickman
With a young team on his hands, first year coach Bob Spath knew that there were going to be games like this, it just does not make it any easier. This past Thursday Milford hosted Cape Henlopen as the Bucs played just their second game of the season. The game was a match up of two solid defensive teams, and defense was on display all night for everyone to see.
Starting with the games opening quarter, Milford had difficulty on the offensive end of the floor. Milford was having so much difficulty against the Cape zone, the Buccaneers’ first points did not come until just 2:26 remained in the opening stanza. “We had a tough time getting into the offensive flow tonight, the offense is new and the guys are just learning it,” Spath said. “It’s about understanding how to get into the flow and find openings, that all comes in time.”
The one saving grace for Milford was that their defense was playing well also. Cape had difficulty penetrating and was never really able to jump out to a huge lead, allowing Milford to stay close. As the first quarter came to a close, Milford forced a few turnovers and was able to gain the advantage for the first time. Finishing the quarter with a 9-5 lead.
Milford looked like they might run away with it as the second quarter began, but Cape stuck around waiting for their offense to come around. The Cape offense finally came around as senior Ryan Thornburg took charge. Thornburg was a thorn in the Milford side all night, converting 5 three pointers in the contest on his way to a game high 21 points. As a result of Thornburg’s hot shooting, Cape worked their way back into the game.
Milford held a 22-20 advantage when the third quarter got underway. The two teams continued to match scores, with Cape able to outscore Milford by two in the quarter. Leaving the teams all square at 34 as the fourth quarter began.
The visiting Vikings began to impose their will on Milford, making key baskets at key moments. With the clock beginning to wind down it looked as if an easy win would be in the offing. Milford continued to have trouble generating offense, while Cape looked to have an answer for the Milford zone. Cape looked to have broken the game open, extending their lead to nine with just over two minutes remaining. Milford turned to sophomore Brion Murray to provide the offense they desperately needed. Brion converted back to back three point attempts, sandwiching a Cape turnover, On the second of those three pointers, Murray was fouled, he comely stepped to the line and converted to close the Milford deficit to just two, with 1:30 remaining. The point gave Murray 21 on the evening, matching the game high of Thornburg.
Milford forced a stop and had a chance to tie the game up, but turned the ball over. At the other end of the court, Murray converted a pair of free throws to seal the fate of Milford. “These are the games you learn from, we will get better from what we learned tonight,” stated Spath.
Milford falls to 1-1 and will play at Caesar Rodney this Tuesday at 7:15.