By Kevin Eickman
Traveling up to Dover this past Friday, to compete in the Henlopen Conference Championship game for a second consecutive year, the Milford Buccaneers knew they would be facing an uphill battle. While the South was technically the host this year, there would be no escaping the Dover feel to it. Right down to the band and the cheerleaders. While at the end of the night those ingredients would factor little in the result, there was a Dover Senator who most surely would.
Dover had handled Milford easily earlier in the year, en route to 16-3 (12-0) record and a number two seed in the upcoming State tournament. While Milford would fall behind to start the game, they would stay within striking distance throughout the game. Each time it looked as if Dover was about to put some distance between themselves and the Buccaneers, something would happen; a couple of missed free throws, a bad pass or a big Milford basket. Something always occurred to keep Milford in the game. Milford would end the half just three points behind Dover, 25-22, and looked like they were not going to go away any time soon.
To start the third quarter, Milford appeared very comfortable and it showed as they stayed with their opponents and began to display a growing sense that they could get the job done. Working tirelessly and together, Milford was able to take the lead on three points from junior Brion Murray. The 34-32 advantage would be the only lead the Buccaneers would have on the evening.
Dover would quickly retake the lead, but once again the Buccaneers would not be left behind. Staying within striking distance, before finally knotting the score at 52 courtesy of a Murray three pointer with just over four minutes remaining in the game. it would be the last time Milford would sniff the lead.
Dover senior Jordan Allen had been starting to heat up ever since he was fouled on an awkward three point attempt, from way behind the three point line. At the time it looked like a silly foul, in retrospect however it may have been the Buccaneers best chance to stop him. After Milford had tied the game, Allen hit a three point shot that was closer to half court than the three point line. It was the beginning of the end for Milford as Allen took over the final four minutes on his way to 39 points.
Speaking with Milford coach Bob Spath following the game, he was generally pleased with his teams overall performance. “We held them in check, we were in a 50-50 kind of a game somewhere in the fourth quarter and you know Jordan had a real good stretch,” Spath stated. “Whenever a guy puts up 39 points on you when their team had 72 total, that’s a lot.”
Spath continued to sing the praises of Allen when he talked about trying to stop him. “We were in him, we were in him, everything was contested, everything was tough,” Spath stated. “When we put size on him he figured that out, he’s relentless, he’s driven and I give all the credit of that win to Jordan.”
Even though Milford lost, it shows that they have the tools to play with the top teams in the State. With Milford hosting Howard in the tournament opener this Wednesday, the Buccaneers know they need to display the same intensity going forward. “We have to put this loss behind us and move forward like I know we can,” senior Devin Kravitz stated. “This game is over, we go back to practice on Monday and get ready for Howard. That is what we need to think about now.”
Tip is set for 7pm on Wednesday.