While Milford is only a quarter of the way through their regular season schedule, it’s never too early for a big divisional matchup.

Tonight, the Buccaneers will look to turn things around hosting a surging Laurel Bulldogs squad in an important Henlopen South Division contest.

Since starting the season two straight wins over Sussex Academy and Delmar, the Buccaneers had lost two straight games heading into this week’s action.

In just four games, it’s been a tale of two sides for the Buccaneers. They opened the season with two impressive double-digit wins, but went on to lose two in a row to Cape Henlopen and Lake Forest, each by double-digits.

Furthermore, Milford’s struggles in the second half of games as of late is a trend they don’t want to continue.

In both of their losses, to the Vikings and Spartans, poor efforts in the third and fourth quarter doomed any hopes of victory.

Against Cape Henlopen, Milford trailed by just three at halftime but were outscored 44-20 in the second half, falling 77-49. In their matchup against Lake Forest, the Bucs were down by eight at halftime, but saw the Spartans outscore them 37-18 in the second half to run away with a 58-31 win.

With just two seniors on the team, Parker Chandler and Tyreke Benson, this may just be some early growing pains. Especially because they’ve seen contributions this season from several underclassmen, like juniors Daniel Shockley, Albert Casabella, Jaxson Turner, Terrell Gibbs and sophomore Dontreze McDonald.

“Daniel is the primary leader, as a junior, we are expecting him to lead by example and lead our team,” said Head Coach Bob Spath. “He’s a National Honors Society kid and does his work both on and off the court.”

“The most surprising player thus far has been Albert - he’s a foreign exchange student from Spain that has shown a lot of versatility, grit and determination to get better at the sport he loves.”  

If  Milford hopes to snap out of their current slump, they’ll have to top a talented Laurel team that enters Thursday’s contest playing well.

The Bulldogs came into the week with a 5-1 record, having earned wins this season over Worcester Prep. (Md.), Delmarva Christian, Indian River, Seaford and Benjamin Franklin High (Md.). So far, their only loss this season has come against Lake Forest.

Laurel are led by an impressive senior duo of Eric Pilot and Holsen Ulysse, who together lead the Bulldogs in scoring this season.

Taking away a thrashing at the hands of Lake Forest, the Bulldogs have shown they can win every type of game. They came away with double-digit wins over Worcester Prep and Delmarva Christian, but also won games against Indian River, Seaford and Benjamin Franklin by a combined 11 points.

The road ahead for Milford doesn’t get any easier, after taking on the Bulldogs tonight, they’ll travel to St. Mark’s over the weekend before taking on Laurel again on the road next Tuesday.

Down the stretch, nine of Milford’s last 12 games will come against Henlopen Conference opponents.

For the Bucs, consistency is key, which is why they trust their system and how they conduct things at practice over all, even when things aren’t going well.

“We do what we do and try to get better at doing it,” Spath said. “I don’t change things up year after year - the kids that are in the program have been taught the essentials of what makes up Milford Bucs Basketball.”