MHS falls to Bears
MILFORD – If last Thursday night’s girls basketball game between Milford High School and Coe-Brown Academy was a potential preview of the Division II title game, the Spartans are going to look a lot different.
Down two injured starters, and with two more in foul trouble for most of the game, Milford did everything it could against Coe-Brown, but it wasn’t enough, as the Spartans dropped their first game of the season 53-41.
Milford led at halftime and was down a point late in the third quarter before the Bears went on a 10-0 run that put Coe-Brown in control of the game.
Jessica Ryan led the Spartans with 14 points, including three 3-pointers, and Adelle Pitsas was also in double figures with 12.
But having to play a large portion of the game with two, and sometimes three, junior varsity players on the floor eventually caught up to Milford.
“It is amazing what we were just able to accomplish,” Milford coach Rich Parent said. “They gave everything they had against the best team in the league. To be honest, I couldn’t more proud.”
Jennifer Schlim led Coe-Brown with 17 points and Abigail Ahern scored all 12 of her points in the second half, as she was also in foul trouble early in the game.
A total of 23 fouls were called in the first half, with the teams combining to shoot 26 free throws.
“I’m ecstatic I get to leave Milford with a win,” Coe-Brown coach Joe Vachon said. “(Milford) was completely ready for us and we knew it was going to be a fight.
“The first half was rough and it took us a bit to adjust. I think our depth is really what helped. When we got in foul trouble in the first half, we had girls come in. We had two or three of our main girls sitting in the first half and coming out with fresh legs in the second half really helped.”
The game lived up to its billing, as the teams went back and forth through the first three quarters, with the lead changing 12 times in the first half and neither team going up by more than three points.
After a couple of quick baskets to open the third, Milford led 29-26 on a basket by Kaitlyn Matthews (eight points), but Coe-Brown scored the next six to take a 32-29 lead.
A layup by Ari Devine got the Spartans back within one with under a minute to play, but a putback by Deborah Peabody with eight seconds left made it a 34-31 lead for the Bears going into the fourth.
That basket started the Bears on a 10-0 run that gave them a 42-31 lead with 5:32 left in the game. The Spartans were able to cut it back down to four points, 45-39, with 2:45 to play, but Milford ran out of gas.
“You never like to lose, but every one of those girls said, if we’re going to lose a game, this is the one we want to lose,” Parent said. “We can grow from this and hopefully we get to play this game again in a different environment with a different physical ability, at least from our standpoint.”
Milford played its second game in a row without senior Becca Cleary, who injured her knee in s win over Souhegan on Feb. 6. Parent said her status was still unknown and likely would be until this week.