By Kevin Eickman
In what would be the final home game for three Lady Buccaneer seniors, in what has not have been the greatest of season, the Milford girls basketball team would save their best for last. Seniors Liza Blake, Cierra Dennis and Rachel Sharp were key components in a come from behind 36-26 win against visiting Sussex Academy.
The game started slowly with both defenses playing well, the result would be a low-scoring first quarter, which witnessed both teams recording only four points. “We really didn’t play our best in the first half at all and it really took us a long time to get into a rhythm on offense,” Milford Coach Kevin Barkley said.
Both offenses found their footing in the second quarter, with each able to find the net with more consistency. While the Bucs were able to record 12 points, it was not enough to match the visiting Lady Seahawks’ 14, which sent Milford into the halftime locker room down 18-16. “We got the offense going in the second quarter, but they (Sussex Academy) scored more, but we hung tough.”
MHS did not fare any better in the third quarter, with its deficit increasing by another basket as the score reached 26-22 in favor of the visitors. The score gave little indication what was in store however; as the Lady Buccaneers were about to explode. “We were confident that we could win tonight, it was just a matter of hard work,” said Blake, who would score a game-high 11 points for the Lady Buccaneers.
As the fourth quarter began, the Lady Bucs came out a focused basketball team, one on a mission. Right from the fourth quarter’s opening whistle, it was evident that Milford was not going to go quietly. With consistent defense and transition offense, MHS quickly put itself in front with just under six minutes remaining. The Lady Buccaneers would pitch a fourth quarter shutout on defense, outscoring their visitors 14-0 as the final score would read 36-26. Sussex Academy never knew what hit them. “That was the best quarter of basketball we’ve played all season. It was great to see Liza and the rest of the seniors play their best at the very end,” Barkley said.
Speaking with Dennis following the game, she was thrilled with the victory and happy with her time in Milford. “It’s been a lot of fun. I know we haven’t been winning a lot of games, but the fact that our team cares for each other so much means a lot to me,” Dennis said. “To win on Senior Night is special, it was really great.”
Sharp who was a constant presence in the paint, was thrilled to get the win too. “We have grown so close to each other and we really did want to win tonight. The fact that we were able to come back made it even more special.”
Blake summed it up nicely when she said, “We are like sisters, we really care about each other. We have always been there for each other and tonight was no exception. I am very proud to have been a part of this team.”
Milford would go on to win the final game of the season at Red Lion 42-35, finishing the season at 3-17. Speaking with Barkley about his seniors, he offered nothing but praise for them. “It’s not easy to be on the losing end of the score most of the time. But they never quit on each other, they never stopped working and believing,” he said. “I can’t begin to tell you how proud I am of these girls, it would have been so easy to quit, but they never did. That shows.”
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