Weird end to Spartans’ February
HOLLIS – It has to go down as one of the most miserable months of February in history.
And yet, the Milford High boys basketball team survived.
Even with the Spartans’ seventh straight loss to close out the regular season.
The hosts from Hollis Brookline High hadn’t won a game in weeks, Feb. 19 to be exact. And they were the hot ones.
Visiting Milford entered the regular-season finale for both looking to avoid the dreaded 1-7 February, its last win coming along with the rent check on the first of the month.
Somehow, after the Cavaliers gritted out a 57-46 decision before a healthy senior night crowd, both teams qualified for this week’s Division II playoffs.
Wednesday night, seeded 15th, the Spartans headed to No. ConVal for the opener.
“We’re in (the playoffs), Plymouth lost. I just found out when the game was over,” laughed Milford coach Dan Murray after watching his team struggle through a 2 for 16 night from beyond the 3-point arc. “We thought we had to win, just to get a little momentum. We haven’t won in a long time.”
Milford finished the regular season at 6-12, while Hollis Brookline halted a three-game skid to close at 9-9.
“That’s a very good win. We’re happy,” said Cavs’ junior Grant Snyder, who had 14 points in the win. “All the practice, we’ve worked so hard through this bit of a bad stretch. We’ve just looked to rebound off of that. This win helps a lot.”
While Hollis Brookline led most of the night, Milford scrapped like a team playing for its season.
Trailing 9-5 after the first quarter, Milford battled back into things to make it a 21-20 game at the half and a 37-34 lead for the Cavs turning for home into the fourth.
But Snyder had two quick hoops and Max Stapelfeld (game-high 19 points) drove for a sweet three-point play that bumped the lead up to nine.
Christian Jones provided one final Milford thrust with back-to-back hoops, making it 48-43, but the Spartans never did find the range, and ultimately that was the difference, much like it has been in all seven February losses.
And it left the other coach, Milford’s Murray, a bit
“How many layups and open shots did we miss?” he rhetorically asked. “We have been a good shooting team, at least we were. We spend a long time on it too, I’m just surprised we haven’t broken out, the effort has been excellent. It just hasn’t happened.”
Jake Greska led Milford with 16 points, and Max Fortin added 15. Jones finished his night with 13.