Local basketball notebook: Senior-laden Milford boys sit at 10-3 overall

MILFORD — Lamarr Shorts wasn’t sure what do with his roster when the season started.

On one hand, if he put too many seniors on Milford High’s varsity boys’ basketball team, it was going to make it more difficult to develop the underclassmen.

But Shorts also remembered that, in his last season playing for Milford, he was one of 10 seniors on the squad.

That’s how Shorts ended up with a varsity roster that has 11 seniors among the 12 players.

“I chose to give this senior class one more chance,” said Shorts, who’s in his first season as Milford’s varsity head coach. “I chose to give these guys a chance to go out together as seniors and potentially do something special that they’ll remember for a long time.”

So far, the results for the Bucs have been pretty remarkable.

After finishing just 6-14 a year ago, Milford is 10-3 overall with seven regular-season games still remaining. The Bucs are well on their way to a DIAA state tournament berth after having a four-season streak of state tourney appearances broken last winter.

Milford (8-1 South) is also dueling with Lake Forest (8-1) and Woodbridge (7-1) for the Henlopen Conference Southern Division title. After hosting Delmar today at 6:30 p.m., the Bucs will be trying to avenge an earlier-season loss when it goes to Woodbridge on Thursday.

Shorts, a 2004 Milford grad, hopes that having so many seniors on the team gives the Bucs a sense of urgency.

“The leadership has been really, really good,” said the 32-year-old Shorts. “Sometimes you might have one or two seniors and then juniors and sophomores. But we have 11 (seniors). You’re constantly getting leadership from different individuals at different times.

“I try to help them understand that, you wake up tomorrow and your senior year will be gone,” he said. “And what’s now the future will be a memory. I try to keep them in the moment but also understanding that we do have work to do.”

Milford’s experience has allowed Shorts to use a number of different combinations of players this season. He regularly uses between eight to 10 players in a game.

Shorts said he thinks just about every varsity player has gotten the chance to start.

“We have a team-first mentality,” he said. “I let everybody know, whether you start or come off the bench, I’m not concerned with that. I’m concerned with you coming in whenever your number is called and be ready to step on that court with energy and do what we’ve been working on.

“The best thing is, everybody’s willing to hop in any time. If I want to do a different lineup or if I want to start somebody different, it’s been really positive.”

The Bucs have won seven of their last eight games, including three in a row.

Shorts, who played collegiality at both Liberty and Bryant, doesn’t want to look past tonight’s game. But Milford has some big matchups remaining, including dates with Woodbridge and Lake Forest (Feb. 7) as well as games with Smyrna, defending state champion St. Elizabeth and Caesar Rodney.

“I hear them commenting to each other here and there,” Shorts said about his players. “It sounds like they are looking forward to these challenges.

“We just want to get better. And if we are presented with an opportunity, we want to be ready to seize the moment.”

Free throws

• Going to Wilmington to beat Padua, 47-43, last Thursday was an important step for Woodbridge’s unbeaten girls’ squad (13-0). But the Blue Raiders still have big tests against Sussex Central (Feb. 5), Lake Forest (Feb. 12) and Sussex Tech (Feb. 14). Those three opponents are a combined 32-10 right now.

• At 6-8 overall, Smyrna’s boys’ team faces an uphill climb to reach the state tournament for a fifth straight year. The Eagles, who have played in the last two state finals, have games coming up against Sussex Tech, Salesianum, Milford and Caesar Rodney. Those next four Smyrna opponents are 37-17.

• Dover’s boys (9-0 North, 15-0 overall) can clinch the Henlopen North title tonight when they play at Sussex Central at 6:15 p.m. The Senators are trying to win their first division crown since 2016.

• At 12-1, Delmarva Christian’s boys have won 11 straight games since falling to Indian River on Dec. 1.

Sports editor Andy Walter can be reached at 741-8227 or walter@newszap.com

Reach sports editor Andy Walter at walter@newszap.com

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