By Kevin Eickman
Everything was going well for the Milford girls basketball team this past Wednesday night. They had jumped out to a quick lead on visiting William Penn and halfway through the second quarter they were extending it. Halfway through the second quarter Milford held a 19-6 lead and it looked as if they were going to be able to cruise to an easy first round tournament victory.
William Penn had other ideas however, they turned up the heat on defense and the results were immediate. Possession by possession Milford had difficulty getting the ball up the court. While Penn was also having difficulties bringing the ball up, they eventually corrected the issue. The Lady Colonials wound up by outscoring Milford 12-10 in the second quarter, trailing just 21-19 as the first half came to a close.
Things quickly went from bad to worse for Milford early in the third quarter, as senior Xitali Roman drew her fifth foul of the game. With Roman forced to the bench, Milford became very vulnerable in the paint. “Cee is a very important player for us and has played with foul trouble before, it just caught up to us tonight,” coach Leona White stated. Even with Roman on the bench, the feisty Lady Bucs stayed in the game. By the time the fourth quarter came to a close, Milford still had the lead 34-33.
The feisty Buccaneers did all they could to stay in the game, every time that it looked as if Penn would take the lead, Milford was able to come up with the stop they needed. The inevitable happened however as Penn took the lead 44-42 with just under four minutes remaining. While Milford would try to come back, Penn was simply too much for Milford as Penn sophomore Jah-ni Jackson would lead all scorers with thirteen points. Roman and junior Jonae Boone contributed 12 each for Milford, but in the end it was simply not enough. Penn would emerge with a hard fought 50-45 victory and Milford would be advancing no further than the first round of the playoffs for the second year in a row.
While an early exit was not the plan for Milford, the fact that they improved on last years 12-8 record, posting a 15-5 mark this year bodes well for the future. Coach White has the team headed in the right direction and was very proud of the overall performance of the team this season. “I am very proud of these girls, they put in a lot of work and improved as the year went on,” White said. “Even after the loss to Woodbridge, we were able to rebound.”
With the exception of Roman, Milford should return all their players for next season. While this looks good for the future, White wanted to talk a little bit about what Roman has meant to the team over her career. “I started coaching Cee in sixth grade and she has gotten better every year,” White stated. “She is a fantastic player and a great person who has grown into a leader over her four years here. We are really going to miss her.”