MILFORD – Desperate for a victory on the young boys hoop season, 0-2 Milford High did not wait for an invitation.
The Spartans just went out and snatched it.
Following a 33-33 first half, Milford played a near-perfect third quarter in its home opener, outscoring Oyster River to the tune of 26-7 and running the Bobcats right out of the gym by a 69-52 final margin.
“We needed it. I think we were all thinking that and feeling it.We talked about the team that was the hungriest was probably the team that would win tonight,” said Milford coach Dan Murray, whose club went 1-2 for seventh in the Nashua Chick fil-A Holiday Tournament. “The whole thing was we had to earn it, you know, just get it done. They finally came out of their shell.”
Sharpshooter Gavin Urda put up 13 of his game-high 29 in the decisive third, but it was how the Spartans owned the backboards, pushed the basketball up the floor at a frenzied pace and basically owned every loose ball that turned a tight battle into a romp.
“The pace was great, the ball movement was really good and we were attacking the rim. We moved the ball well,” said Murray. “We put it all together.”
And while Urda was pouring them in from long range (four triples on the night) he got the rim at will as well. The senior’s teammates felt it, too.
Beefy Joe Shepard led the way, cleaning the glass with a dozen rebounds. Gritty Jake Greska also had a big night with 19 points and eight board for Milford, which was missing one of its top guns, CJ Jones, who was home with the flu.
“We had to come out a little faster, and with that we start working harder down low and battling,” said Shepard.
Caden Zalenski, Ryon Constable, James Blais and Kyle Forsley all provided instant energy as well.
Oyster River entered this one at 2-0, but found the going tough right from the start as Urda buried a pair of threes in the opening minutes, helping the Spartans build a 16-11 cushion.
That number evaporated by the half, leaving Milford a bit down but extremely determined.
The win was huge since the it was the first of three straight home dates for Milford, which had dropped tough ones on the road at ConVal and Manchester West to open the year.
Milford next hosts 0-2 Bishop Brady on Friday night at 6:30.