By Kevin Eickman
With the DIAA State basketball tournaments about to get underway, the Milford boys’ and girls’ basketball teams are preparing for their first round match ups. Both the teams have had some difficult moments this season, but are hoping to play their best basketball of the season, at just the right time.
The boys’ team finished the season with a regular season record of 12-8, good enough for the 12 seed in the tournament. Milford will be hosting 21 seed Red Lion Christian Academy, who come in sporting an 11-8 record. Red Lion scheduled some difficult teams throughout the season and should present quite a challenge for the Buccaneers.
“When you take a look at the tough, up state teams that they played, you know that they are not going to be afraid of anybody,” coach Bob Spath stated. The teams share a common opponent in Lake Forest, with Red Lion defeating Lake earlier in the season, while Milford split their encounters with the Spartans.
Red Lion will be led by a pair of juniors, Jalin Robinson and Christian Kennedy. It will be up to the Milford defense to try and slow them down. “Those guys are really good players who you have to pay attention to. If you don’t things can get away from you in a hurry,” said Spath.
With Woodbridge winning the Henlopen South title this year, the Buccaneers did not have to play in the Henlopen Championship game this year. It is something that Spath believes may help Milford a little bit this year. “It’s great to be in the Henlopen title game and obviously we are disappointed we were not there this year,” Spath commented. “However, it has been much different for us to be focusing on a singular opponent, instead of trying to prepare for a title game and a playoff game at the same time.” The winner of the game will travel to #5 seed Smyrna this Friday night. Tip is set for 7 pm this Wednesday at Milford Central Academy.
On the girls’ side of the docket, the stage is set for a battle between two Henlopen South rivals, as the 12-8 and 17 seeded Lady Bucs will travel to Harrington to face the 14-6 lady Spartans. The teams split the regular season series, with each team winning on their own home court. Lake will be headed by the two-headed scoring threat of senior’s Arika Burrell and Mya Maddox. Maddox put up 29 against the Buccaneers in their first meeting against Lake this season.
“We know that’s a very good basketball team over there and we are going to have to play our best just to have a chance against them,” coach Leona White stated.
Looking back at the season however, it has been quite an accomplishment for Milford just to qualify for the State tournament. Beginning with their fourth game of the season, Milford dropped five out of six games and the season looked on the brink of becoming a disaster. The Bucs were able to gather themselves together and win seven of their last nine games to qualify for the tournament.
“I can’t begin to tell you how proud I am of the team this season. They really had a tough start, but managed to come together and qualify for the tournament,” said White. “They demonstrated just how tough they are and I hope that we can continue to play the way we did down the stretch.”
Tip is set for 7 pm this Tuesday at Lake. The winner will travel to top seed Ursuline on Thursday.
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