By Danny Emerman (Sports Correspondent).
Basketball games are not won or lost by one clutch shot or an amazing defensive stop. They are decided by 32 minutes of effort and execution.
Sharon did not perform for the full duration of the game and the final score, 57-56 in favor of Milford, indicated that.
“We can’t win a game only playing for 22 minutes. We settled for jump shots. We stopped taking the ball to the basket. That’s the story of the game,” Coach Andrew Ferguson told The Talon after the game.
Sharon suffered long, devastating droughts and ongoing defensive lapses on Tuesday night against Milford. The only reason Sharon stayed in the game was a heroic effort from Ricardo Ripley and a revamped second half aggression.
“We played aggressively for most of the second half and we were successful, but when you dig yourself in a hole like that it’s tough to fight out of it,” Ferguson added
Sure, if Milford’s Zachary Tamangi did not hit an incredible half-court heave at the end of the third quarter, or if Ricardo Ripley sunk a tough pull-up jumper at the buzzer, the game may have been different.
No particular play down the stretch won or lost the game, not even Dimitry Torres’ game winning layup, contested by Michael Zola.
Offensive droughts, particularly in the second quarter, killed the Eagles. They failed to score for the first four minutes of the period and totaled just 5 points. Unforced turnovers and ill-advised shots early in the shot clock contributed to the shortage of offense.
“We didn’t show up for those eight minutes and we didn’t show up for the first two minutes of the third quarter,” Ferguson said.
The Eagles coughed up 13 turnovers, including four from Tyler Smith and three from his brother, Bryce.
“We preach it in practice. We try to work on it. Some things just don’t get through to some people. We can’t turn the ball over like we did and expect to win basketball games.”
A bright spot in the loss was a resurgent Ricardo Ripley, whose midseason struggles have been downplayed by the team’s success. Ripley came out of his slump to the tune of 15 points. The junior single handedly kept the team afloat in the third quarter, scoring 10 of the team’s 17 third quarter points.
“Getting Ricardo back to the way he was playing at the beginning of the year is obviously going to help us moving forward. Same thing with Mitchell [Sirota]. Both of them are coming off little injuries and now I think they can trust their bodies more and get back to the attacking style of basketball they were playing at the beginning of the year,” Ferguson said.
Senior forward Mitchell Sirota posted 7 points and 6 rebounds in the loss. He has labored through a foot injury all season but looked close to 100% healthy against Milford.
Milford’s Dimitry Torres dropped 15 points for the Scarlet Hawks, including the game winner.
Since the Eagles have already reserved a seat in the playoff party, Ferguson says he was worried about a letdown in Milford.
“I saw it coming a mile away. They were not focused or ready to play this game.”
With the loss, the Eagles have a 10-6 overall record. As Foxboro widens the gap to 3 games, Sharon is on the outside looking in on a Davenport title.