Jarvis, Bucs looking to compete while rebuilding in hoops

Jarvis Jarvis, the lone returner to this year’s Milford team, looks for an open teammate during the Bucs’ 65-46 win over Lake Forest last January. Delaware State News/Ben Heck

MILFORD — After seeing his skills and production progress from year to year, Jarvis Jarvis is poised to once again take his game to new heights this winter.

But his senior season on the Milford High boys’ basketball team won’t come without its challenges.

When the Bucs tip off the season Dec. 4 at Middletown High, Jarvis will be the only familiar name on the roster.

With last year’s 11 seniors, led by guys such as Daniel Shockley, Terrell Gibbs, Nick Sivels, Jaxson Turner, Tyron Mifflin and Brock Hilligoss, now graduated and gone, the veteran leadership will fall onto his shoulders as the lone returner.

“It’s very exciting, but we’ve got a lot of rebuilding to do,” said Jarvis. “But we’ve got a lot of young guys ready to play, so we’re ready and we’re excited.”

Among the 27 names between varsity and junior varsity, Lamont Isabell, Jaedon Wright and Malik Brewer are listed as seniors alongside Jarvis.

Terrince Clark, Timothy Horsey, Leon Kelly, Allen Sivels and Edward Stevens make up the junior class. James Eley, Kenny Reed and Jordan Riddick will likely contribute to the varsity squad as sophomores.

“This year’s going to be really, really interesting,” said second-year coach Lamarr Shorts. “So much room for growth, but so much room for reward at the same time … we’re a much younger team than last year, obviously, which is not hard to do coming from 11 seniors.”

After just six wins in 2017, Milford’s senior-heavy roster picked up 12 wins and a state tournament berth a season ago – though the magical season ended with an 80-60 first round loss to Sussex Tech High.

With the Bucs competing in the Henlopen North this year, another challenge facing the program, the young team will be competing regularly against Division I Northern Division foes such as Dover High, Caesar Rodney High, Smyrna High and Cape Henlopen High.

It certainly doesn’t help that three of the team’s first five opponents were state tournament teams last year.

Following Milford’s nonconference season-opener against the Cavaliers, the Bucs will open their home schedule with a division contest against Dover on Dec. 5.

Milford follows up with a pair of road divisional matchups with Sussex Central High and Smyrna before going back home to host rival Lake Forest High Dec. 17.

Middletown was the No. 23 seed in the tourney last year, while Dover enjoyed a first-round bye as the second seed and ended up finishing as the state runner-up after falling in the finals by just three points, 48-45.

Though they’re no longer in the same division, Lake Forest — the 18th seed in last year’s tourney — will still play the nearby rival Bucs as if they’re battling for the Southern Division.

After not playing his freshman season, Jarvis played the first three games of his sophomore year on junior varsity before being pulled up to varsity. He then had his best season last year.

“My junior year was a big year — a couple 20-point games — but I’m hoping to play way better than that this year,” said Jarvis.

Now, heading into his final season of high school ball, Jarvis put in plenty of work over the offseason and is confident with the group he has around him.

“He actually spent some time in the weight room, even if you can’t tell,” Shorts said with a laugh. “He spent a lot of time in the gym, too, just really working on ways to make himself more effective on offense and defense. I think that’s going to be a big thing.

“I really like what Jarvis has done this offseason. He’s put in a lot of work; he’s spent a lot of time with the guys … he’s very anxious. He almost lives for this moment, but there’s still a lot that he’s going to learn throughout the year.”

Shorts says that, offensively, things come easy for Jarvis. Scoring is easy and fun for him, but he’s made sure to make strides on the defensive side of the ball over the summer.

“Yeah, I did a lot of work on defense (this offseason),” said Jarvis. “A lot of defensive slides over the summer, just trying to get faster – because I’m not the fastest – and just getting ready to go. I’m more of an offensive player, so my defense lacks, so I have to get better on the defensive side … steals lead to fast breaks, fast breaks lead to buckets.”

Jarvis expects his team to play as underdogs for much of the season, but he says, “we’re ready.”

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