Bucs drop Henlopen South showdown against Woodbridge

MILFORD – For the second time in less than a week, Milford went head-to-head with Henlopen South foe Woodbridge Thursday night.

The Bucs trailed just five points at the half, but Woodbridge would go on to cruise to a 69-47 victory behind a 38-point second half performance. The Blue Raiders (10-3) picked up its second win over the Bucs in a six-day span.

Blue Raiders’ senior Hassan Corbin dropped a game-high 24 points in the win, marking Woodbridge’s fourth straight win and fifth in the last six games.

Junior Daniel Shockley led the Bucs with 14 points, with another 10 points scored by sophomore Jarvis Jarvis.

Terrell Gibbs drives to the basket during Thursday night’s loss to Woodbridge (The Chronicle/Ben Heck).

Woodbridge took a quick 8-0 lead in the first few minutes of the game before Jarvis put the Bucs on the board with a jumper at the 5:09 mark.

The Jarvis jumper opened up a 15-7 run for Milford’s offense, helping the Bucs get back into the game. The Bucs briefly took a 13-12 lead with a Terrell Gibbs lay-up at the 1:22 mark, before Woodbridge regained the lead with a three-pointer on the ensuing possession.

The brief first-quarter lead would prove to be the only time the Bucs held a lead all game, as Woodbridge took a 19-15 lead into the second quarter.

Milford battled back once again, tying the game 25-25 on a free throw made by junior Brock Hilligoss with 2:13 to play in the half.

The Blue Raiders dropped six straight points to go into the half with a 31-25 lead.

Milford’s impressive performance from the free throw line in the first half, drilling 13-of-16 from the foul line in the first two quarters, is what kept the Bucs in the game.

“It was great, it did keep us in it,” head coach Bob Spath said of the team’s first-half free throw shooting. “We were playing great defense – we were playing inspired defense – and stayed in the game. You go down to the second quarter, where we really should have been with a lead, and it seems like we went on a stretch where we went 0-for-5, 0-for-6, and they opened it back up to four. You have to seize those opportunities when they present themselves, because they don’t come along very often against a good team like that.”

Jaxson Turner makes his way for the basket against the Blue Raiders Thursday night (The Chronicle/Ben Heck).

Missed shots and squandered opportunities in the third quarter allowed the Blue Raiders to pull ahead by as many as 16 points, and Woodbridge led 51-36 heading into the final quarter of play.

“We came out in the third quarter and they got a little bit more of a cushion, and the rest of the game got away from us,” coach Spath said.

“The guys at halftime felt good, we made some adjustments on some open shots we just continued to miss some of those shots, had a couple of really bad turnovers that lead out to easy buckets. Next thing you know, it’s a dangerous zone when you go from seven down to 13 down then 15 down, you start to lose sight of that gap.”

Woodbridge put up another 16 points in the fourth quarter to wrap up the 22-point victory, picking up its 10th win of the season.

With one of the toughest schedules in the Henlopen Conference this season, Milford will now have three tough games next week as they approach the final stretch of the regular season.

Sophomore Jarvis Jarvis (34) plays defense against Woobridge senior Hassan Corbin (10) in Thursday night’s Henlopen South battle (The Chronicle/Ben Heck).

“We’re still in position to be in the playoffs, believe it or not,” coach Spath said. “We need nine or 10 wins, we’ve got five right now with seven games to play. The main thing is to prepare them for one game at a time.”

The Bucs host Caesar Rodney (9-3) Monday, Feb. 5 at 6:15 p.m. before hitting the road to take on Smyrna (12-2) the following night. They’ll cap the week with a home showdown against rival Lake Forest (9-5) Thursday night at 6:15 p.m.

Coach Spath isn’t one to step down from adversity. In fact, he embraces the challenge his 2017-18 schedule has presented to the Bucs.

“I like adversity, that’s what it’s all about – looking at their body language, how they handle adversity – because we are young,” coach Spath said. “We only have two seniors on this team. So, I’m like, put us in these fires, go play the hardest team in the state.”

Sports Editor Ben Heck can be reached at bheck@newszap.com.

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