Milford able to hold off Hanover

MILFORD – Rich Parent did the best he could at warning the Milford High School girls basketball team that this week of the season could be dangerous.

The Spartans had five games left starting Tuesday night, but with three teams with losing records coming before two big contests at Oyster River and home to Merrimack Valley, the potential for a trap week was there.

After taking care of business in the first game against ConVal, Milford did the same Wednesday night, clamping down defensively on Hanover in the second half to pull out a 44-36 win over the Marauders.

“Hanover is one of those teams that we knew, their record does not indicate how good they are,” Parent said. “We knew how good they were.

“And the same thing goes for our next game. St. Thomas has talent, but their record doesn’t indicate that. We feel that without Becca (Cleary) that every game is (a trap game). We don’t walk into games thinking we’ve got this.”

Without Cleary, Devany Pitsas scored 14 points, including 8 for 14 at the free-throw line, to lead Milford. Adelle Pitsas was also in double figures with 11 points as Hanover looked to shut down Jess Ryan, who finished the game with just five points.

“I saw them play twice this year and I thought the offense ran through Jess,” Hanover coach Dan O’Rourke said. “We wanted to try to limit her and see if other kids could step up and beat us.

“We made some critical turnovers that shot us on the foot. I thought we were in the game, and we’ve been in every game this year.”

Caroline Rodi led the Marauders with 10 points, while J.J. Daniell scored five of her nine points in the game’s final 90 seconds.

Hanover had the lead for most of the first quarter, but the Spartans went on a 13-4 run that put them up 17-11 early in the second. The Marauders came back to make it a three-point game at halftime and Parent decided to switch defenses to start the second half.

“We tried playing man (defense) and I was kind of disappointed in our help,” he said. “We had a long talk about it at halftime and then we came out and played zone.”

The switch worked, as the Spartans gave up just four points in the third quarter and took a 32-25 lead into the final frame.

Milford went just 6 for 13 from the free-throw line down the stretch, but got a big put-back from Matthews on one of the misses that put the Spartans up 41-29 with 1:40 to go. Hanover got two free throws and a 3-pointer from Daniell sandwiched around a put-back by Rodi to make the score a little closer at the end.