By TJ Millman
It is going to be an odd start to the Milford Boys Basketball season this Thursday. The Bucs will go into the game with only three practices as a full team due to the deep state tournament run from Milford’s Football Team. Milford actually had to reschedule their first two games just to be able to have any practice time at all with their full roster.
“We haven’t even really started yet. We’ve got 5 Varsity guys, a number of them starters, that haven’t even been on the practice court yet. Right now we are just biding our time, waiting to put this thing together after Saturday. The guys who are missing are vital cogs in the mechanism, and we have to wait and see how everything is going to work out,” Milford Head Coach Bob Spath said.
Milford held a scrimmage against Poly Tech last Thursday, and the patchwork Bucs squad featured a lot of youth. Milford had size, but the young Bucs lacked consistent guard play, a problem that will be remedied by the return of several of their core ball handlers. Even with their players returning, Milford is still a young team. They only have 2 seniors on the roster this year, but Spath’s expectations are as high as ever.
“I think that a Southern Division Championship is not out of the realm of possibility. We won it in 2015 and 2016, and last year Woodbridge was able to take it from us. I’d like to add another year on our banner. The goal is to peak in late February and early March, and then make some noise in the State Tournament. We are a young team, and I think we are set up for success for the next few years,” Spath said.
Coupled with their lack of players, Milford also graduated 4 seniors from last year’s team that played vital roles. This leaves the Bucs with even more uncertainty when it comes to what their final product is going to look like.
“It’s just hard because we really don’t know. There are potentially 4 guys not here tonight that will be in our starting lineup. I don’t know what that’s going to look like. Hopefully it looks good. I’m happy with the guys that we have, and I’m happy with our size. We have some big guys on this year’s team. As for chemistry, we just have to wait and see. This is just the beginning and we have the whole season ahead of us,” Spath said.
Even if Spath doesn’t know quite how his team will gel, he still knows what qualities he has in his athletes. He chose his roster with purpose, and he has expectations for any player that he coaches.
“I look for guys that are unselfish, fulfill roles on the team, and have size. You can’t control your size, but you can make up for that with hard work and unselfish play. I always have a spot on the court for my best defensive player, and it’s all about being able to contribute to the team,” Spath said.
The Bucs first two games are against a Sussex Academy team that went 1-18 last year, and against Delmar who went 2-18, with both of Delmar’s wins coming against Sussex Academy. This will give Milford time to work out some of their early struggles, and hopefully get things on track for the rest of the season.
Milford opens at home on Thursday, December 7. The tip-off is set for 6:15 PM in the Central Academy Gym.
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