By Kevin Eickman
Going into Friday night’s home game against 12-4 Saint Marks, it was common knowledge that there was not going to be a lot of offense on display. The visiting Spartans posses a smothering defense that has only allowed their opponents to score over 40 twice all season. Milford on the under hand is developing a penchant for defense as well, becoming progressively solid in that area. While that might not sound like a recipe for an exciting game, this was a game that turned out to be a great deal of fun to watch.
With points at a premium, the first quarter came to a close with Milford trailing 6-5. The Buccaneers offense struggled even more in the second quarter, netting just two points on their way to a 12-7 halftime deficit. With Milford’s leading scorer sophomore Henry Nesmith sidelined due to injury, the Bucs had a hard time breaking down the stout Spartan defense. “Henry is they type of player that would have presented a difficult challenge to Saint Marks,” coach Bob Spath stated.
Things began to look a bit bleaker for Milford as the Spartans were able to extend their lead to 19-10 with just under three minutes remaining in the third quarter. To make matters just a bit more difficult for the Bucs, junior point guard Devin Kravitz was forced to leave the game due to injury. The Milford offense finally began to click a bit as junior Son Martinez began to heat up. Martinez who would lead all Buccaneer scorers with 14 points, began to will Milford back into the game. “Son stepped up and made some big baskets tonight, he was a big reason we were in the game,” Spath stated.
With Milford trailing 21-14 as the fourth quarter began, they continued to try and claw their way back into the contest. The Bucs continued to close the gap, trailing 29-25 with just under five minutes remaining. From there the teams would battle back and forth, with Milford struggling desperately to narrow the gap. Every time the Bucs had the chance to close to within two, they just could not do it.
“When you play a team like Saint Marks every shot is important, it just seemed like they wouldn’t fall when we really needed them to,” Spath stated. The closest that Milford would get would be when Coleman hit a three point shot with six seconds remaining. However ,with no timeouts remaining, Milford was forced to foul and the Spartans created a free throw to close out the scoring. The result was a 32-28 defeat and another loss for a Bucs team that could ill afford one.
Milford still has an outside shot at the Henlopen South title, but there most likely path to the State tournament would be through an at large bid. The Buccaneers presently have a 10-8 record, placing them firmly on the bubble. If they want to qualify for the playoffs, they will need to win both of their remaining games. There first will be this Friday at 5-11 Lake Forest, before they host 10-5 Delmar on senior night next Tuesday.