After a hot 3-0 start, the Milford Boys Basketball Team met their first real test last Thursday in the visiting Woodbridge Raiders by a score of 69-45. The Raiders swept Milford last year at home and away, and the game was electric from the opening tip-off.
So far this year the Bucs have pressed their opponents, but Milford decided to show Woodbridge guards respect and started the game in a half-court zone defense. Milford still played aggressive, jumping passes and meeting the guards at half-court, but the Bucs struggled with pulling rebounds from the errant Blue Raider shots. Woodbridge senior Jamon Kane stockpiled offensive rebounds and scored all 10 of the Blue Raider points in the first quarter. The quarter ended in a 10-8 lead for the visitors.
The second quarter was much of the same with Milford scoring on fast-breaks and three pointers and Woodbridge scoring through Kane. The second quarter ended with a 25-23 lead for Woodbridge and Milford Head Coach Lamarr Shorts went into halftime knowing that he needed to make a change.
“We went into halftime and talked about what we needed to do to keep (Kane) off the glass. He had a lot of offensive rebounds for put backs, and we know that can be confidence building for a team. We knew that if we could get him off the glass, then we had a chance to get things going the other way,” Shorts said.
Both teams came out of half-time with a renewed energy, and it was right back to being a fast-paced game. Milford’s defense was aggressive, but their offense still struggled to get the ball in the basket. The quarter ended in a 41-38 lead for the Blue Raiders.
“I think for those first three quarters we were aggressive and played physical. We played to our strengths, not allowing our lack of size to hold us down. We have struggled with our lack of size early, but we made up for that in the way that we rebounded and played defense. That last quarter, we fell behind after a few quick threes, and we went into desperation mode. This was a great experience for us. Seriously, those wins early are great, but we needed this. These are the games where we find out what we are made of, and these are the games where we see what we need to get better at,” Shorts said.
One of the things that makes this Bucs squad so unique is the way that they work in their players. Milford uses all 13 of their players interchangeably, with hardly anyone getting more playing time than the next.
“I am comfortable with my team…every one of them. I know that certain guys feel better in certain positions, but I have told them from tryouts that I believe in them. These first few games, I’m putting everyone out there and figuring out what situations each of my guys thrives in,” Shorts said.
Regardless of who is on the floor, Shorts made one thing clear. “We are going to impose our way. Physically and mentally, we are going to impose our way. Even if shots don’t fall, we can control our defense and our tempo, and that is what we are going to do,” Shorts said.
Milford has a chance to get things back on track this Tuesday, December 18 at home against Cape Henlopen. The game is set to tip-off at 6:30 PM.
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