By TJ Millman
The Milford Bucs Basketball team lost to Lake Forest this past Tuesday, by a score of 58-31. It was a group effort for the Spartans, with 10 different players scoring a basket, and the high scorer of the entire game finished with only 9 points. For Milford, 8 players scored, but only three players managed to contribute more than 2 points, with junior Daniel Shockley scoring a team-high 8 points.
Junior Jaxson Turner drilled an early three pointer to give the Bucs the opening lead, but from there things would stagnate. The first quarter was sloppy from both teams, and ended with Lake Forest holding only a 6-5 lead. Both the Bucs and Spartans pushed the ball too fast, turning themselves over and forcing up low-quality shots, and the game turned into a track meet.
Lake Forest managed to slow down their pace in the second quarter, but the Bucs continued to hurry themselves into poor scoring opportunities. The Spartans slowly began to pull away, making the extra passes needed to find an open shooter, and at half the score was a 21-13 lead for Lake Forest.
“I think our guys were just playing too fast. It’s only our fourth game of the season, and a lot of our players are young and new to the pace of varsity basketball. They got sped up early, and when you get sped up it’s hard to slow back down. You stop thinking, you stop remembering all that you have been taught, and the result is what you saw happen today,” Milford Head Coach Bob Spath said.
In the third quarter, Milford began to wear down, and the Spartans began to exploit the interior of the Bucs defense. Lake Forest point guard Jaysem Vasquez and forward Thomas Hoskins went to work driving on the Bucs and consistently finishing at the rim. The fourth quarter was much of the same, and the Spartans outscored Milford 37-18 in the second half.
For Milford, the problem seemed to present itself in a few different areas. Offensively, Milford lacked someone to take control of the offense and create scoring opportunities. Defensively, the Bucs played solid to start, but the speed of the game combined with the long amount of time spent on the defensive end wore Milford’s defenders down. The biggest issue, however, was Milford’s lack of leadership on the floor.
“We are really lacking any sort of leadership at this time. We aren’t vocal in the locker room or on the floor. We have some guys who are trying to step up, but being a leader is something that you either have or you don’t. It’s a natural trait, and right now it seems like our guys are content just to be on the team. Tonight is a reality check for our guys. We know what the problems are, and tonight showed us what is going to happen if we don’t get these things fixed,” Spath said.
The good news is that these issues are presenting themselves early in the season, and Milford is a young team with plenty of room to grow. Milford’s next game is on the road against Indian River. Their next home game is Thursday, January 11 at 6:15 PM against Laurel.
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