Milford, HB set for showdown

It is March, time to measure up for many winter high school sports teams.

The Milford High boys basketball team, currently 9-8 and trending in the right direction with five wins in the last seven, has one final practice test before the final exam of the Division II state playoffs begin.

Thursday night at 6:30, the Spartans play host to Hollis Brookline in the regular-season finale for both teams.

At 14-3, Hollis Brookline is one of the hottest teams in all of New Hampshire, having ripped off 12 straight wins since a 2-3 start.

One of those victories was a tight 48-45 home decision over the Spartans.

After that one, Milford coach Dan Murray sounded like Nostradamus.

“Those are two good teams,” the coach said. “Both are headed for the top half (of Division II).”

The Spartans can do just that, climb into the upper half with a victory and some help from elsewhere in D-II over the last


Thursday night’s battle is an absolute clash of styles.

Hollis Brookline plays a grind-’em-up defensive style, while Milford likes to run and gun.

“We take it one game at a time, and we play HB basketball,” said senior Grant Snyder, who has been the Cavaliers’ go-to guy all season long. “As long as we keep working hard at it, every day in practice, we know we are going to be OK.”

Explosive Matt Stapelfeld has definitely come into his own as a scorer as well.

Role-players like Matt Dias, Robbie Haytayan and Ryan Coutu have all kicked up their games as well.

There is no secret to the fact that Milford likes to run and run often.

Gavin Urda, who has been working through a tender ankle, makes the Spartans go, with wingmen Jake Greska and Christian Jones, a pair of seniors who have seen it all.

Big Joey Shepard has been a godsend in the paint this winter as well.

Keep an eye on the sharpshooting sophomore, Ryan Constable, as well.

Milford High should be again rocking on Thursday night.

It’s the only game in town, and with the Division II playoffs just a week away, it’s going to be a heck of a measuring stick.