Milford boys fall 62-54 in nonconference battle with St. Mark’s

MILFORD — For more than two quarters Friday night, the Milford High boys’ basketball team hung tight with St. Mark’s High.

It wasn’t until the Spartans went on an 11-0 run in the final 4:13 of the third quarter, breaking a 37-37 tie game, that St. Mark’s pulled away for the 62-54 nonconference win over the Bucs (7-3).

“I like where we are, we are where we need to be,” said Milford coach Lamarr Shorts. “We know we have work to do, we know we have things we want to do this season and we have places we want to go. We’re going to keep chipping away.”

The loss snapped Milford’s four-game win streak, while extending the current St. Mark’s win streak to five.

“Today was a very good gauge of seeing where we are and what we need to work on,” said Shorts. “So we’ll get back to work and we’ll be ready for our next game.”

Seniors Terrell Gibbs and Nick Sivels each put up a team-high 13 points for the Bucs. Senior Daniel Shockley and junior Jarvis Jarvis each added 11 points.

Senior Victor Marcelo led St. Mark’s (7-2) with a game-high 20 points. Senior Eric Ludman added 15.

Knowing the Spartans play strong defense and like to slow the pace of the game and utilize long possessions offensively, Shorts knew his team would need to execute the game plan and eliminate mistakes.

“We knew that was their style of play, we know our style of play,” he explained. “I always talk to the guys about imposing your will. At the end of the day, whoever is able to impose their will and is able to execute their game plan is typically going to come out victorious.”

Milford’s fast tempo and high energy out of the gate allowed Sivels and Gibbs to put up a pair of quick baskets and force St. Mark’s coach Nicholas Sanna to burn his first timeout just 49 seconds into the game.

The Bucs built up a 12-8 lead but consecutive baskets from Marcelo and Ludman at the 1:22 and :52 mark of the opening quarter knotted the game 12-12.

Throughout the first half the Bucs and Spartans exchanged leads four times and the score was tied seven times. The largest lead of the half for either team was a four-point Milford advantage.

Ludman hit one of his two free throw attempts with :00 on the clock to take a 28-27 St. Mark’s advantage.

Four three-pointers from Gibbs (two), Shockley and Sivels in the first 3:39 of the third quarter kept the Bucs in the game. The Sivels three-ball at the 4:21 mark of the quarter put the Bucs ahead by one point, 37-36.

From there things quickly unraveled for the Bucs as the Spartans scored 11 unanswered points to end the third quarter with a 10-point advantage, 47-37.

“That was a big stretch. Some calls don’t go our way, St. Mark’s makes some plays, some layups here and there, and we don’t make some shots,” Shorts said. “That’s an area we need to recover from. We haven’t had a whole lot of moments like that this season, so it was good for us to experience that today.”

The St. Mark’s defense forced turnovers and created offensive opportunities at the other end of the court during its 15-0 run that carried over into the fourth quarter.

“St. Mark’s is a really good defensive team and they’re really good with their pace on offense,” Shorts said. “I have seen our team play faster than we did tonight, I think we were a little reserved at times, and I think that allowed them to kind of dictate their pace a little bit more than us today.”

Following a timeout with 3:46 remaining, Milford out-scored the Spartans 15-8 but it wasn’t enough to erase the team’s 15-point fourth quarter deficit.

A pair of Jarvis Jarvis three-pointers in the final 30 seconds of the game weren’t quite enough for the Bucs to pull off the last-minute comeback attempt.

“When you have a deficit with a team like that it’s typically difficult to push them into something you want to do,” said Shorts.

St. Mark’s knocked down nine of the team’s 15 free throw attempts in the fourth quarter to solidify the eight-point nonconference win.

Milford edged St. Mark’s in three-pointers, 7-1.

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