By Kevin Eickman
Catching up to Milford boys Basketball coach Bob Spath this past Wednesday, he was in a condition which few have ever seen him before. Preparing to embark on his second season, Spath actually looked tired. It was not job related stress, it was simply fatigue as he and his wife have welcomed their sixth child Addison Spath just the evening before. “We were on are way down to scrimmage Parkside, when I got the call,” Spath said. “I had to get off the bus on route 13, someone had to come and get me.”
In coaching Milford to a 12-8 record and a tournament birth last season, tired was a word rarely associated with the Buccaneers. All during his first season, Milford managed to find a way to improve themselves. They found a way to learn and develop from adversity, producing a glimpse into a possibly very bright future. “We’ve got eight players returning from last season along with four players coming up from J.V.,” Spath stated. “We have the bulk of our scoring coming back, so we are very excited about the potential.”
Last year’s leading scorer for Milford was Henry Nesmith, a player with a gift for filling up the basket that is not afraid to do the hard work. “Henry puts in the effort and it really shows when he is on the floor,” Spath stated. When discussing the newcomers on this year’s squad, Spath is optimistic that they will be able to contribute in an area where Milford struggled last season. “It was no secret that we had a hard time on the boards last season, but we will have some bigger bodies this season,” said Spath. One of those players is sophomore Marcus Correa who also plays football for Milford. “Marcus is about 6’3” inches and is a real super athlete,” he stated.
One position that witnessed a bit of flux last season was that of point guard, with Spath using different players at the position depending on what he needed. Senior Devin Kravitz spent some time at the point last season and Spath will be looking to capitalize on his versatility. “We are working different combinations, all with the goal of developing greater flexibility,” Spath stated. “The goal is to get the best combination we can, based on the situation.”
The fact that this is the second year for the players under Spath, should help Milford to get off to a solid start this season. “The fact that the foundational parts are already in places, has allowed us to bring a greater diversity to our game,” commented Spath. “It is starting to become more instinctual for them at this point and that is a big advantage for any team to have.”
At the top of the list of things to do for Milford is to retain the Henlopen South title they earned last season, then improve off of last season’s early playoff exit. “Like everything else, it’s about building off last season,” Spath commented. “We want to win the South and we want to play 24 games. 24 games is a significant number, it means you have really accomplished something in the post season.”
Milford will also be looking to strengthen their work on the defensive side of the ball, something that Spath knows will lead to greater offensive opportunities. “We need to get our defense down solid, we can’t allow those little cracks that end up costing us points and eventually a game,” Spath stated.
Milford will open the season Tuesday, December 8 as they host Henlopen South rival Delmar, tip is set for 6:15 pm.