By the end of this week’s action, the Milford Buccaneers will be at the halfway mark of their 2016-2017 schedule, ten games in with ten left to go.
Through eight games, the Buccaneers are 5-3 overall and 4-2 within the Henlopen South Division. With a matchup against Seaford on the schedule this week, the Bucs will also be halfway through their divisional schedule, with seven Henlopen South games still remaining.
At the beginning of the season, Head Coach Bob Spath spoke about the team’s seniors, Brion Murray, Chris Sampson, Tymire Riddik and Marcus Correa how their play would dictate the success of the team.
“Brion is a three-year varsity starter and returning team captain,” said Spath. “Murray, Sampson and Riddick can all shoot the ball. Correa is an excellent defender, rebounder and shot blocker. Those seniors are the core of our team.”
The Bucs’ fourth year players all had a hand in guiding Milford to a hot start and when some struggled in matchups with Lake Forest and Smyrna to end the month of December so too did the Bucs.
“We did not play well or shoot the ball well against Woodbridge or Lake Forest,” said Spath after the holiday break. “We should come out of the break a much improved team and I look for us to put together a nice winning streak.”
After a 3-1 start, Milford closed out 2016 with two losses in a row to the Spartans and Eagles in games where the Bucs had just one double digit scorer in each. However, since the calendar hit 2017 Milford has yet to taste defeat. Entering the week, the Bucs have won two straight divisional matchups against Indian River and Laurel.
After downing Indian River by 30 points last Tuesday, led by Brion Murray who scored a game high 19 points, Milford won their second in a row on Friday night, defeating Laurel 55-38.
Trailing the Bulldogs 22-18 at the half, Milford went on to outscore Laurel 37-16 in the second half to win going away.
Three Bucs finished in double figures Friday night, led by Sampson who finished with a game high 20 points, followed by Murray with 14 points and Riddick with 12 points.
Down four in the third, Milford took control thanks to a 23 point third quarter which gave the Bucs a 41-30 lead heading into the fourth quarter. In the fourth, Milford held the Bulldogs to just eight points for the second consecutive quarter while increasing their lead by five to earn the 17 point victory.
While it’s a bit early to scoreboard watch, the Bucs find themselves within striking distance of the top spot in the Henlopen South Division. Woodbridge currently leads the division, sitting at a perfect 6-0 on the year, followed by Laurel (5-2), the Bucs (5-3), Seaford (5-5) and Lake Forest (4-4).
Milford has already met Woodbridge once, a 69-56 Blue Raiders victory. Though, the Bucs will matchup against Woodbridge once more at the end of the month.
Meanwhile, the Bucs recent win over second place Laurel, who they’ll play again in mid-February, upped their divisional record to 4-2. Beginning with Thursday night’s game against Seaford, Milford will have one more shot at all of their divisional opponents, which means they still control their destiny if they can manage to win out.
Seaford enters tomorrow night’s contest as winners of two of their last three games, earning victories over Queen Anne’s County (Md.) and Sussex Academy. In their most recent outing, Seaford fell to frontrunning Woodbridge, 55-36.
Senior Andrez Jones has led the way for the Blue Jays, recently scoring 35 points in Seaford’s victory over Queen Anne’s County.
On Friday night, Milford will return home to take on St. Mark’s in a non-conference matchup where the Bucs will also honor the 1989 Conference Championship team.