Milford sees positives even in loss

MILFORD – Milford High boys’ basketball coach Bob Spath said entering last week that his team would figure out how good it was when it played Dover.

Following a 68-54 loss to the Henlopen Conference Northern Division leading Senators, the consensus was the Buccaneers still have some work to do if they hope to make a strong state tournament run.

Milford head coach Bob Spath talks with Brion Murray. (The Chronicle/Jeff Mitchell)

Milford head coach Bob Spath talks with Brion Murray. (The Chronicle/Jeff Mitchell)

“We’re not where we need to be nonconference,” Spath said.

Dover opened up a 33-22 lead over Milford going into halftime and throughout the contest the Buccaneers struggled to get the game back to single digits.

“We pretty much stayed 10-down the whole game,” Spath said. “Every single timeout, every single adjustment we made was to somehow get it inside of 10. There were a couple critical possessions where we could’ve got back inside of 10. In the third quarter we got back-to-back turnovers. Those opportunities don’t present themselves often and if you don’t capitalize they go down and score and an eight-point game turns into a 12-point game.”

Part of Milford’s problems stemmed from its work outside the arc. Even with open looks against the Senators, the Buccaneers were struggling to hit three-point shots. Meanwhile, Dover tended to use its size advantage over Milford and did a lot of damage in the paint.

Senior Jordan Allen led the Senators and all scorers with 22 points. Milford was led by junior Henry Nesmith, who posted a 17-point effort.

The resurgence of Nesmith, along with the return of senior Devin Kravitz from injury, are positives for the Buccaneers as they move forward.

“With Devin coming back off injury, we’re just trying to work him back in and get him back up to game speed without pushing him too hard,” Spath said. “He’s our team captain and been our point guard for the last couple years. Devin helps us quite a lot.

“Everything is kind of starting to turn for us,” he continued. “I’d much rather peek in February and March than I would in December or January. All along I’ve been trying to figure out what the best five is, but maybe we are getting away from what we did last year. Moving forward we probably need to rely on our experience and stick with those guys that brought us through the fires last year.”

Another positive Milford can take away from the loss is the fact that Buccaneers never lost their intensity throughout the bout.

Bucs senior Son Martinez drives the baseline against Dover. (The Chronicle/Jeff Mitchell)

Bucs senior Son Martinez drives the baseline against Dover. (The Chronicle/Jeff Mitchell)

“We’ve been practicing on paying attention to detail,” Spath said. “And we’ve been doing pushups for every single turnover, even in lay-up lines and running up and down. I think that overall toughness shows itself. Plus, this was against Dover. Any time you’re playing one of the top teams in the state and they’re recognized as such, our guys tend to rise to the occasion.”

A pair of important Henlopen South games await Milford this week. First the Buccaneers play at Delmar on Tuesday in a potential trap game and then Milford hosts Woodbridge on Friday. If the Bucs win both, they will all but clinch the Southern Division and its automatic playoff berth.

From the Milford Chronicle Sports Desk

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