Milford's very young boys basketball team lost their season opener Tuesday night to St. Elizabeth's by a score of 52-48. No one's happy with an opening loss, but there was some encouraging signs sprouting from the highly competitive game."
"We do have young team right now, after losing players to graduation, and we have a few injuries that we are working through," said Milford coach B.J. Joseph.
"We only have two seniors on the varsity at the moment, but all of the players are working hard and starting to pull together," he said.
The Buccaneers feature a young and inexperienced squad, which features two freshmen, one sophomore, six juniors and only two seniors on the roster. Time will definitely be a factor as the team works to build chemistry on and off the court.
In the loss to The Vikings, Milford stayed even at 11 apiece through the first quarter. Through the second quarter, the team continued to play well and building a two-point lead at 20-18.
The balance play continued into the second half but the Bucs began to have trouble with St. E's senior Andre Patton and Mike Piekarski, and by the end of the third quarter, the Viking led by a slim margin, 33-31.
After a hard fought effort, Milford was outscored in the final period and fell to St. E's 52-48.
"We were right there. Near the end, Octavion Wilson had a lay-up, but unfortunately he was called for a charge. That play would have put us up, but it could have gone either way," said Joseph.
"This was only our first game, but I saw a lot of good plays out there tonight, so we will definitely get better as the season progresses and everybody gets healthy," he said.
Milford showed a balanced offensive attack, which was led in scoring by juniors Wilson and Tikeace Harris, who each netted 11 points. Senior Jalen Steven contributed ten points and Vance Daniels netted 9 points in the closely contested game. The Vikings were led by Patton, who's also an all-state football player. He led all scorers with 29 points. Patton's teammate Piekarski added 11 points in a wining effort. Daniels, Harris and Garrett Coverdale each had a three-pointer for Milford. Piekarski, Brandon Gautier and Ryan Cason also had three pointers for the Vikings.
The 0-1 Buccaneers next game is Friday night on the road against Sussex Tech. Opening tip-off is scheduled for 7:15 p.m.