Bucs’ victory over Lake extends win streak to four games

MILFORD – Coming off a 13-point loss to rival Lake Forest in December, Milford’s girls’ basketball squad had a little added motivation in Thursday night’s rematch.

In the end, Milford avenged the early-season loss by pulling away with a 42-37 victory over the Spartans on Thursday, Feb. 2.

“It was a very exciting game. We needed this win,” Bucs’ head coach Leona White said following the game. “Hopefully this is going to move us up a little bit, better our chances of getting into the tournament.”

The victory extends Milford’s current win streak to four games, and puts the squad in good position to make a run over the team’s final five regular season games.

Behind a 29-point performance from Lake senior Mya Maddox Dec. 16, the Spartans defeated Milford 50-37 in the first showdown in Felton. Maddox wasn’t suited up for the game this time around, turning the reins over to fellow senior Arika Burrell.

Burrell dropped 15 points for Lake, but Milford senior Rajene Bowe added 15 of her own points and played a strong overall game in the victory.

Kiarra Brittingham scored five of her 10 points in the fourth quarter (The Chronicle/Ben Heck).

Bowe made plays all over the court, reeling in offensive rebounds and put-backs, forcing turnovers and recording her third straight double-digit point game.

“She had a phenomenal game,” coach White said of Bowe. “She’s an amazing player.”

“We were tired and it was a close game, but we knew we just had to believe in ourselves,” Bowe said following the win. “We knew when it came close we had to hold the ball, we didn’t want them to get any fast-breaks.”

“We just knew it would be a good game,” she added.

With a 20-20 tie at the half, the two squads exchanged leads early in the third quarter before Milford took the lead for good at the end of the quarter. As the waning seconds in the third expired, senior Kiarra Brittingham drained a three-point shot to put the Bucs up 33-32.

Rajene Bowe led the Bucs in scoring with 15 points, her third straight double-digit point game (The Chronicle/Ben Heck).

Brittingham went on to begin the fourth quarter with another three-point play, making a lay-up while being fouled. Hitting the free throw, the Bucs’ lead was extended to 36-32.

Kiarra’s five fourth-quarter points – giving her 10 total for the game – helped Milford out-score Lake Forest 9-5 in the final eight minutes and walk away with the five-point victory.

A win in a heated rivalry game is always a confidence-booster, especially this late in the season.

“It meant a lot,” Kiarra said when asked what the win meant for her team. “Every time we play them it’s always a competition, so it was really important that we worked hard and worked as a team to get the win. We just had to work as a team and make smart decisions when we had the ball.”

With four straight wins, Milford sits at 9-6 with five games to go in the regular season. Next up for Milford: a home match-up with Indian River Tuesday, Feb. 7 at 6:15 p.m.

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

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