Milford boys overcome early deficit in 65-46 win over rival Spartans

MILFORD — With his team trailing by 11 points early in the second quarter, first-year Milford High boys’ basketball coach Lamarr Shorts knew it would take patience to complete the comeback.

Behind a career-high 22-point performance from junior Jarvis Jarvis, the Bucs battled back for a decisive 65-46 win over Henlopen South arch-rival Lake Forest High Thursday night inside a packed Milford Central Academy gymnasium.

“I just had to make sure they understand it’s a four-quarter game, it’s a game of 32 minutes, and you don’t win the game in four or five minutes,” explained Shorts. “Regardless of whether we’re down or up, we have to finish out the game.”

Using a 14-2 second quarter run and a 14-0 run in the third and fourth quarters, the Bucs (5-2) erased the early double-digit deficit to hand the Spartans its first loss of the season.

“I think today we did one of the most important things,” said Shorts. “We started a little slow, but to be able to make adjustments and to bring the energy is going to be big for us in every game we play.”

After falling behind 20-9 at the 5:38 mark of the second quarter, the Bucs scored 14 of the game’s next 16 points to take a one-point lead, 23-22.

Jarvis, netting four three-pointers in the win, knocked down a key three-ball to complete the 14-point outburst at the 1:13 mark of the first half.

“My team kept pushing me,” Jarvis said. “In the beginning of the game I couldn’t really hit anything, but my team kept pushing me and telling me to shoot. I started shooting and they started falling.”

“I was not surprised at all by Jarvis’ offensive output,” Shorts said. “I told Jarvis from Day 1, the place where he’s going to impress the most is defensively, and he had a really couple of practices doing that and I know for him the defense is going to create offense.”

The final 1:13 of the half featured four lead changes, with the Spartans (5-1) eventually pulling back ahead by one point, 26-25, at the halftime break.

Milford’s defensive unit continued to put pressure on Lake’s offense in the second half, forcing errant passes and turnovers that led to fast break points at the other end of the court.

“We’ve had pressure defenses all year. Until I felt comfortable enough to run them, I couldn’t always implement them,” explained Shorts. “Over break we had some time to kind of get some things set, so today we tried to put them in and the guys responded well.”

The two teams exchanged leads three times early in the third quarter before the Bucs scored 12 unanswered points to jump ahead 51-38 heading into the fourth quarter.

While the first three quarters of the game featured 14 lead changes, the Bucs controlled the tempo and scoreboard throughout the final eight minutes of the game.

Lake junior forward Jaysem Vazquez recorded a team-high 21 points before fouling out at the 2:15 mark of the fourth quarter.

Sophomore forward Kaheim Kimbrough-Roach and senior Jene Sample added 14 and eight points, respectively.

For Milford, senior Nick Sivels complemented Jarvis’ performance with 16 points of his own. Senior Terrell Gibbs recorded 10 points.

Seniors Daniel Shockley (eight points), Dion Warner (four), Jaxson Turner (three) and Brock Hilligoss (two) rounded out the Milford point-scorers.

“This is huge for our confidence,” said Jarvis. “We really wanted this game since it’s our big rival. This is the game we really wanted, and we got it.”

“Over the break, we basically didn’t want to lose sight of the fact this is a transition, not only for myself but for the players also,” said Shorts. “There’s a style, there’s a mentality that I want these guys to play with and piece-by-piece we’re going to find ways to get to that point.”

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