By Kevin Eickman
When the Milford boys basketball team looks back on their two games this week later in the season, there is little doubt that these games will go a long way to defining what this Buccaneer team ultimately evolves into.
The week started with a tough road loss at Cape Henlopen on Tuesday night. What looked like it was going to be a satisfying win, turned ugly as Milford was not able to close out the game. With the Buccaneers missing key free throws down the stretch, Cape was able to send the game into overtime by converting their opportunities from the line. Milford would end up losing in overtime 72-64, scoring just two points in the extra session.
On Friday evening, Milford would find themselves on the road once again, this time tipping off against Lake Forest. The game was one of the more unusual that you would expect to see, as coach Spath made it clear that he wanted to see just what all of his players were capable of. The first quarter started with the typical Buccaneer starting lineup, with the exception of sophomore David Bowman making his varsity debut at the point.
Milford came out of the box a little sluggish, particularly during offensive possessions. In the first quarter, the Bucs would get called for at least four traveling violations, in addition to a few other turnovers. The Buccaneers looked less than interested as the quarter progressed, that all changed however as Spath pulled the entire starting lineup at the four minute mark. This was not in response to the slow start, this was simply Spath trying to determine exactly who should be compiling minutes for the Bucs as the season progresses.
“I feel like I’ve got 10 guys who can be legitimate starters.” Spath said. “Depth is a good thing, but it’s even better when you have seven guys who have separated themselves from that 10 person pack.”
The Buccaneers would trail at the end of the first quarter 16-15, but would begin to impose their will in the second quarter. As Milford was beginning to come alive, it was obvious that two things were happening. Bowman was demonstrating the skills of a pass first point guard and junior Marques Correa was rapidly becoming a force in the paint. Correa had multiple blocked shots on defense, along with at least 10 rebounds on the evening. In addition, Correa would contribute 13 points as well.
“This is my first year playing organized basketball, so it can feel kind of weird sometimes, getting into the flow,” Correa stated.
Milford would pull away easily from their host in the second and third quarters, at times threatening to turn it into a route. Unfortunately for the Buccaneers, they continued to demonstrate a disregard for protecting the ball, allowing Lake to close to within seven points with just over five minutes remaining. Milford would shut the door however, winning 74-60 and improving to 4-1 (3-0) on the season.
While the win was nice, Spath was still talking about the turnovers following the game. “We just gave the ball away 10 times, just like that. That is unacceptable,” stated Spath.