By Kevin Eickman
This past Thursday both the girls and boys middle school basketball teams were in action. What was seen was an indication of some very exciting years of Buccaneers basketball ahead, as both squads played with grit and determination. More important than the victories they earned, was the team play demonstrated at a very high level for middle school students.
First on the court were the Lady Buccaneers, who battled Providence Creek Academy. From the start, Milford showed it had come to play. Applying pressure from the outset, the Buccaneers were able to force numerous turnovers and score in transition.
“We really wanted to come out pressuring tonight. We usually play a combination of one-on-one or zone, but today we wanted to go with pressure most of the way,” Coach Leona White said.
When the Buccaneers weren’t scoring, they were rebounding, in control of the boards the entire game despite looking a little undersized compared to their opposition. If there was a loose or contested ball, there was a Milford player scrambling for it.
“I was really happy with how aggressive the girls were tonight,” White added. “I could see them starting to get that determination in their eyes the last few games, but they really gave it their all tonight (January 9).”
The result would be a 43-15 victory in a game that was not as close as the score indicated as White emptied the bench midway through the third quarter. Playing point for Milford was seventh grader Tayana Bibbins, who possesses solid ball handling skills as well as the ability to find the open player. She is savvy for her age and looks to have a bright future.
“Tay is as tough as they come and very smart with the basketball. She is really the engine that drives this bus and I believe she is only going to get better.”
For her part, Bibbins enjoys playing for White as well as her teammates. “Coach White is great; I’m learning a lot from her. She has taught me how to make that extra pass and when we can do that, we are really tough to beat.”
Another player who flashed potential was eighth grader Carlee Davis. Davis was an aggressive defender as well as a shooting threat from the outside. When given an open look, she does not hesitate to take her shot. While she was a bit off, she still managed to make two out of five three-point shots.
“Carlee has an excellent outside shot and she is only going to get better as time goes on.” White said “She is dedicated and constantly trying to improve herself, there is no reason she isn’t going to continue to improve.”
If you like fast-paced, high-flying basketball, do yourself a favor and head out and watch these young players of the future take to the hardwood. Five games into an 11-game regular season, these young Buccaneers are 5-0. They are a team stacked with eighth graders who if they stick together can reach some incredible heights in the future. In dispatching Providence Creek Academy 61-37, the Buccaneers made it look easy.
Playing intensely throughout the game, Milford put on a solid display on both sides of the ball. From the jump Milford was off and running, getting out to a quick lead and maintaining it throughout. The Buccaneers started four eighth graders and they all looked solid. Standing out particularly strong was Kashmier Wise. A gifted player in all aspects of the game, expect big things from him in the future.
“Kas is the kind of player you just love to watch. He enjoys the game so much and is very coachable,” Coach Tony Hazzard said. “When you see the things he is doing as an eighth grader; you just know he has a very high ceiling going forward.”
Milford has more than Wise, it has an abundance of talent that looks very cohesive as a unit and enjoy winning basketball games. It can really be any player in any game that lights up the scoreboard, including seventh grader Matthew Adams who netted 15 points. Adams possesses a smooth shot and a nose for the ball.
But as Hazzard said, it’s not just about one or two players. “I can’t begin to tell you how much I love coaching this team. It’s not just how they play on the court; it’s how they are off it. They are very close to each other and have grown up together.” he said. “As a group, they have the potential to be something very special.”
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