By Kevin Eickman
Here we go again. There was little doubt that the thought was crossing the mind of Buccaneers boys’ basketball coach Bob Spath during the first half of this past Friday’s Henlopen South tilt as the Milford hosted Laurel. Just four minutes into the game, Milford senior Brion Murray found himself riding the pine as he picked up his second foul of the game. “Obviously that is not how we wanted to start the game tonight. Picking up quick fouls like that puts us in a tough spot and has already cost us a couple of times this season,” Spath stated.
While Milford did not fall apart because of Murray’s departure, they did not apply their typical pressure on defense, hindering their ability to get into the transition game. As a result, Milford found themselves trailing at the end of the first quarter 11-8.
In the second quarter, it looked as if Laurel might be able to make a run. Each time they looked on the brink however, Milford made a big basket to stay within striking distance. Key for the Bucs would be senior Chris Sampson, who paced Milford in the first half with eight points, on his way to a game high 20.
“The way the defense was playing us, there were just opportunities for me to get some baskets,” Sampson said. “When I was open, the guys made sure I got the ball and all I had to due was put it in the hoop.” Murray would return to action with four minutes remaining in the half, but would only collect four points as the teams entered the locker rooms with Laurel leading 22-18.
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With all that had gone wrong for them in the first half, Milford was still in the game. Laurel thought they were as well. The only problem was that the Buccaneer’s defense was about to land on them like an anvil. From the start of the third quarter Milford was all over the visitors, playing solid defense and forcing turnovers. Milford tied it up almost immediately and then stepped on the gas leaving the Bulldogs in the dust.
Along the way Murray began to get back in a rhythm and brought the crowd to their feet as he produced a highlight real jam early in the quarter. With the gym now rocking, what followed was total domination. “That first half was not what we are about, we are better than that,” Murray commented. “When we came out of the locker room, we knew that we would be able to do this.”
Milford would outscore Laurel 23-8 in the third quarter on their way to the win, improving their record to 5-3 (3-2) for the season. The win came on the heals of Tuesday’s 68-38 home win over Indian River, giving Milford their first back to back wins since the start of the season.
“We kind of like to break the season down into thirds. While the first third might not have been exactly what we wanted, it gave us a real idea of what we are going to be about going forward.” Spath stated. “Things did not go well at the start tonight, but the guys answered the call. That is going to serve us well going forward.”
1989 Team to be Honored
This Friday night, Milford will honor the 1989 squad, who were Henlopen Conference Champions that season. The team will have a private function prior to the game, then be recognized at halftime. Milford athletic director Ryan Winkleblech is happy about the upcoming event.
“Anytime you have the opportunity to celebrate the past, it’s a great night,” Winkleblech stated. “That was a very special team and will be fun to honor them.” Tip is set for 6:15.
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