By Kevin Eickman
You have to go back a long way to find the last time Milford has lost a Henlopen South game, all the way back to January 20, 2015. That night in 2015, Milford looked sloppy in an eleven point road loss at Laurel. In that game, Milford played sloppy ball and it cost them. This past Friday may have been worse.
From the very start, the Buccaneers looked out of sync. Woodbridge opened up the game applying defensive pressure and Milford could not handle it. The visiting Blue Raiders came out of the gate with an 11-0 run in just three minutes of first quarter play. It would be 11 points that Milford would chase all night long.
“We started out slow from the start. Everything seemed to go there way and we just couldn’t do anything right,” coach Bob Spath stated. “To be honest, there is not a whole lot of positives we can take away from tonight.”
Along with the big early deficit, Milford was facing another issue. The officials were calling the game tight and the Buccaneers were paying a price for it. Milford senior Brion Murray would spend huge chunks of time on the bench during the first half. “We got into huge trouble, I had four out of five starters that had three personal fouls coming into halftime. This was the most foul trouble we’ve ever been in since I started here,” said Spath.
The one thing Milford might be able to take solace is that despite all the things they did wrong at the start of the game, they still managed to find a way to shoot themselves back in it. After being doubled up in the first quarter 22-11, Milford managed to regroup and close the gap to six before the half. It was largely on the shooting of Tymire Riddick, who would finish the game with 22 points including four from behind the three point line. Thanks to Riddick’s hot hand, the deficit at the end of the first half would be only six points, with the Buccaneers trailing 35-26.
Murray would pick up his fourth fouled early in the third quarter and was left in the game as he started to heat up. On consecutive plays Murray would hit a highlight real dunk, followed by a huge three pointer as Milford would close the gap to four, with 3:38 remaining in the third quarter. Hope seemed to come to an end however as Murray would finally earn his fifth foul with just over a minute remaining in the third. “He’s our best player, and you don’t expect your best player to get in that deep of foul trouble that early in the game,” said Spath.
By the time the game was over Milford would also see sophomore Tyron Mifflin foul out as well. Along with all the fouls, Milford was also off at the line as well. The Buccaneers found themselves making only 12 of 29 from the stripe, not exactly the type of numbers the Buccaneers are looking for. “Yeah, missed free throws are huge, we practice free throws every day,” stated Spath.
Things will not get any easier for the 2-1 Buccaneers as they will host 2-0 Cape Henlopen this Tuesday at 6:15. “We’ve got a tough game again this Tuesday night as we play Cape. It’s going to be a similar environment, with a ton of people in here,” stated Spath. “Hopefully we learned our lesson tonight and we will keep our noses clean.”
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