By TJ Millman
It would be very easy for a team to give up after starting off 0-10, and the Milford Lady Bucs Basketball team had the odds stacked even further against them when a few illnesses forced them to play against Sussex Academy with only one bench player. Six players for an entire game is a test not only of conditioning, but also discipline. If any player fouls out, substituting becomes impossible, and it will only be a matter of time before the five remaining players tire out.
Sussex Academy took advantage of the situation, and pressed hard to start the game. As the Buccaneers tired out, turnovers became an issue, and the game began to slip out of reach early. Milford fell behind 22-3 in the first quarter, with the only 3 points coming on a three-pointer from freshman Hayleigh Baker, but the rest of the game was a different story.
With a 19 point lead, Sussex Academy pulled back their press, and Milford finally had some room to work offensively. Junior Vanasha Daniels got things started from the point guard position, and was able to find senior Kalaysia Reynolds and freshman Baker for open jump shots. Reynolds also started to drive the basket, either finishing at the rim or earning a trip to the free throw line. The second quarter ended 13-11 in favor of Sussex Academy, and Milford went into the break down 35-14.
With the break at halftime, Milford came out rejuvenated in the third quarter. The Bucs began to press out on defense, challenging shots, and they applied extra pressure to Sussex Academy sophomore Abby Hearn. Hearn scored 32 points in an offensive clinic, but was mostly silent in the third quarter. The duo of Baker and Reynolds continued to go to work and Milford actually ended the quarter ahead 12-10, bringing the score to 45-26.
After three quarters with only one sub, the Lady Bucs finally wore down, and Sussex Academy was able to outscore Milford 16-5, ending the game with a final score of 61-31. Despite the loss, Milford has a lot to take with them as they move forward. They showed their offensive capabilities, and it is a wonder what the game would have looked like if they had enough bodies to keep everyone fresh. Baker and Reynolds finished with 13 and 17 respectively, and Daniels assisted them for many of those points.
The Lady Bucs also showed that they are not going to give up. An 0-10 team, losing 35-14 at halftime, does not usually come out and outscore their opponent in the third quarter. This group of girls would simply not go away, and they can hold their heads high knowing that they refused to fold in the face of adversity.
Milford has their next game at home Tuesday, January 30 against conference opponent Delmar. The game tips off at 6:15 PM.
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