MILFORD – Different day, same result. This time though, that result wasn’t so clear cut.
Milford defeated Souhegan at home on Tuesday night in an outcome much closer than the 74-33 win it posted last month in Amherst. The Spartans finished the evening with a 67-56 win in this edition of the local rivalry, holding the lead throughout a contest that saw both teams combine for 13 3-pointers.
That doesn’t mean the Sabers didn’t make it interesting. The visitors were only down by seven at the half, and they went on an 11-5 run in the final two minutes of the game.
However, the effort wasn’t enough to stop Milford’s Ryan Banuskevich. He finished the evening with 25 points, including a pair of quick 3s early in the third quarter that started a decisive Spartan run.
Souhegan head coach Peter Pierce noted Banuskevich wasn’t alone when it came to exceptional Milford shooting, but he was the key factor in the Spartan victory.
“He’s a hell of a player,” Pierce said. “It’s hard, you can hold him in check for a while, but we don’t have anyone that can hold him in check for 32 minutes. He doesn’t need a lot of room to get the 3 off.”
In the eyes of Milford head coach Dan Murray, Banuskevich also played a key role, but the real determining factor was improved team passing and defense in the second half, leading to eight Spartans’ players scoring in the final quarter.
“Defensively, we struggled a little bit (early) when it came to our five-man, two or three guys playing really good, but the other guys out of the picture when they should have been help side,” said Murray. “And five-man on offense in the first half, the guys were trying to score too quick. You’ve got to move the ball.”
Souhegan did not have anyone light up the scorebook at the same scale as Banuskevich, but the Sabers’ Ryan Snow copied the Spartan senior’s third quarter performance during Souhegan’s late run, scoring a pair of 3s within seconds.
Ryan Hickey also had a pair of late 3s for Souhegan, with Hickey and Ryan Boehm leading the Sabers with 14 points apiece.
Outside of Banuskevich, Milford’s only other scorers in double digits were Evan Ryan and Shane Winnett, who both contributed 11 points in the victory.
With the win, Milford climbs to 4-0 in regular-season play and will face Pelham on the road next week. Conversely, Souhegan falls to 0-4 and will aim to rebound at home against Merrimack Valley on Thursday.
Souhegan 55, Milford 45
Mia Len scored 26 points, shooting a perfect 12 for 12 from the foul line, and led the Sabers to a 55-45 victory at Milford.
Madison Robicheau added nine points for Souhegan (3-2), while Katy O’Brien added eight. The Sabers were 21 of 25 from the charity stripe for the game.
Amy Arena racked up 21 points for the Spartans (0-5), who trailed only 19-18 at halftime. Christina Arnoldy added seven points and Devany Pitsas chipped in six.