By Kevin Eickman
On Wednesday night the Milford boys hosted a determined Red Lion Christian Academy, in a game that was extremely entertaining to watch. Following a slow start, the Bucs would turn up the heat on their visitors. In the first quarter, Milford was cold from the field and Red Lion was anything but, continually shooting successfully over the Bucs zone defense.
“We were a little flat from the start and it really took us a while to get into the flow,” coach Bob Spath stated. “That first quarter was tough for us, but we knew we could find a way back.” By the time the first quarter ended, Milford found themselves on the wrong end of a 16-9 score.
As the second quarter got underway, Milford began to play more man to man and pressure defense, taking away some of the easier looks that Red Lion had seen earlier in the game. On offense the Buccaneers adjusted as well, as it became obvious that the visitors were willing to let almost anyone but senior Brion Murray shoot the ball without a host of defenders in his face. With Murray penetrating and then passing back out, the Bucs were able to create some great looks from the outside. The key benefactor of the passes was Bucs senior Tymire Riddick, who would connect on four three-pointers on his way to 20 points.
“When we saw what they were doing, I knew that I was going to have my chances,” Riddick said. “When I have open looks like I did tonight, it’s my job to knock them down. So that’s what I did.” As a result of the changes, Milford would outscore Red Lion 11-3 in the second quarter, taking a 20-19 lead into halftime.
The teams played even throughout most of the third quarter, until the Buccaneers finally found the spark they had been looking for. Following a pass in the paint from Murray to Marcus Correa for a layup, Red Lion got out quick on the break. Chasing all the way was Murray, finally catching up as Red Lion attempted a layup on the other end. Murray blocked the shot and secured the ball, bringing the Milford faithful to their feet.
“I saw them get out on the break and just started running after them,” Murray said. “There was no way I was just going to let them have it, so I just ran.” Milford ended the quarter with 36-30 lead thanks to a strong late finish in the period.
As the fourth quarter wore on, Milford had the look of a team ready to break it open. The resilient Red Lion squad refused to go away however, managing to close the gap to 48-45 with 19.2 seconds left. With the ball in Murray’s hands, Red Lion fouled him with 12.9 seconds left. Murray hit both ends of the one and one, to seal the game for Milford. “I was real relaxed at the line and knew that I could end the game right there.” Murray stated.
Following their 50-45 win on Wednesday, Milford fell in the second round of the State Tournament to Smyrna 71-38.
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