The Milford High boys basketball team defeated Portsmouth 48-42 on Saturday afternoon to capture their 2nd straight title, completing an undefeated 22-0 season. Jamie Holder scored his 1,000th career point in the process.
Portsmouth made a 2nd half comeback to cut the Spartans lead to just 2. But Milford was able to hang on from there. What a great atmosphere at UNH today. Milford was the favorite to win it all year long, and they got it done. They're a great team, one of the best D-II/Class I teams in recent memory.
This is a Special Milford Team
Holder scored his 1,000th career point today on a free throw in the 2nd quarter. Mike O'Loughlin scored his 1,000th point earlier in the season. And Mike Mitchell recently recorded his 500th career assist (which of course led to over 1,000 points). So on one team you have two 1,000 point scorers AND another player with 500 assists. They don't call them the "Big 3" for nothing. But wait, there's more! Towards the end of last season the "Big 3" became the "Big 4", as Kyle Nelson really started to elevate his game.
These guys have all been playing together for a LONG time. They've worked EXTREMELY hard, and they earned it.
In the title game vs. Portsmouth, O'Loughlin dropped a game-high 18 points. He had some big plays in this game. 2 in particular that come to mind came in the 4th quarter. After Portsmouth had cut the Milford lead to 34-30 after 3 quarters, O'Loughlin made a big steal and and-1 finish on the other end to push the lad back up to 37-30. Then later in the 4th Portsmouth cut the Spartans lead to 41-39 after a big basket inside for Charlie Duprey. O'Loughlin again answered back with a strong drive to the rim and finish inside to make it a 2 possession game.
Holder scored 14 points on the game, including his 1,000th career point. He played terrific defense all game long, helping to force 21 turnovers by Portsmouth. He also converted a nice basket inside off an offensive rebound to put Milford up 19-8 with 6:00 left in the 2nd quarter.
Mitchell had 6 points, 4 assists, 3 rebounds, 1 steal and only 1 turnover while running the point all game for Milford. He made a sensational pass to Holder for a basket with 2:29 left in the game to put the Spartans up 41-35 in addition to some clutch free throws late.
Nelson had 8 points and 4 rebounds. He hit 2 BIG three-pointers at key points in the game to help the Spartans win the title.
Portsmouth Had a Nice Season
Give Portsmouth credit. Kamahl Walker had never played with any of these Portsmouth kids after moving over here from Worcester over the summer. Kyle DiCesare missed the first 6 games of the season due to a suspension. And sophomore guard Terrance Herbert was let go from the team late in the season for off-court reasons. That's their 3 best players. Not exactly like the Milford trio who have been playing together since 2nd grade. Plus Milford is all seniors, while those 3 kids from Portsmouth are 2 juniors and a sophomore. So the fact that Portsmouth was right in the game all the way until the last minute or 2, and only trailed by 2 2 minutes left is impressive stuff. Head coach Jim Mulvey deserves a lot of credit for the way he was able to deal with the distractions and get the most out of his team.
Milford did have the loss to injury of senior wing Scott McCallum too though, don't forget. McCallum improved his game as much as any player in the state from the end of last season to the beginning of this one. And then halfway through the season he gets hurt and is all done. Tough break for a kid who worked so hard to get better, but Milford is still ale to win it all.
DiCesare really had a tough shooting day for the Clippers. He shot 2/7 from the floor, and 0/4 from three-point range. Milford did a nice job of containing Walker, who still had a nice game overall. Gregg Tsougranis, Riley McCarthy and Duprey all played well in supporting roles. McCarthy is the only starter graduating, so you can bet Portsmouth will be back in UNH again next year.