By Kevin Eickman
The first two games of the Milford Boys basketball season are in the books. With an opening game on the road at Hodgeson Vocational Tech on Wednesday and a home opener against Dover, one of the top ranked teams in Delaware, the Bucs knew it was not going to be easy to hit the ground running.
“We knew we had a tough start to the schedule and we did our best to get ready for it,” Coach Lamarr Shorts stated. “It’s very early in the year so you won’t go into panic mode over a couple of loses. After all, a lot of our players are just getting to know each other.”
While hosting Dover on Thursday, the Buccaneers were most assuredly up against stiff competition. In the early stages of the game however, Milford looked as if they might make a game of it. In a back and forth first period, the Bucs stayed with the Senators for most of the period. It was the final minute or so that foreshadowed what was about to come. Reeling off eight unanswered points to close out the quarter, Dover turned a 16-16 tie, into a 24-16 advantage.
It was from that point on that the Dover experience began to take over. With solid passing and high percentage shooting, the Senators pulled away from the Buccaneers. Milford was not without their chances however, they just could not take advantage of them. Several times, after forcing a Dover turnover, Milford was able to get out on the break only to make a mistake and fail to get a basket.
“We made a few mistakes when we had some opportunities that cost us. We have to remind ourselves that this is a learning process for us and it’s going to take a little time,” Shorts said. “Teams don’t gel overnight so I don’t expect us to. We will though as the season goes on and that’s when it’s going to be fun. There is a lot of talent on this team, we may be a little inexperienced as a group but we have players that can play the game.”
As the game wore on the experience of Dover began to show itself. With each passing minute the Senators began to demonstrate why they are one of the topped ranked teams in Delaware. Their passing and cohesion was evident in what amounted to an 89-40 defeat. Leading all players in scoring was Dover senior Elijah Allen who totaled 28 points on the evening.
“Allen is a fantastic player that can play a complete game. All you can do is tip your cap to him and his teammates, they really played well tonight,” said Shorts.
The evening before, Milford opened the season on the road at Middletown. The Buccaneers were much more competitive as they entered the fourth quarter tied with their hosts. However, the Cavilers outscored Milford by five to earn the 72-67 victory.
“We played very well up at Middletown, so we know what we are capable of,” commented Shorts. “It’s very simple, we just have to keep working. Just like tonight, this game is over. We are going to have to take what we learned from it and incorporate it into practice to continue to improve.”
Milford will travel on the road for two games this week. Tuesday they will be at Sussex Central for a 6:30 start. Friday they will be at Smyrna for a 7:00 PM tip.
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