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MHS Hoops Legacy Forged at WPI

A trip to Worcester Polytechnic Institute for the Milford boys' basketball team means more to the program than a simple appearance in the district semifinals. The Scarlet Hawks' wins and losses at the college venue are among the most memorable in the school's history and getting to WPI every season has served as a reliable barometer of the team's success.
"It's significant, it's something we have talked about for the past three years we have gotten to the tournament," MHS head coach Paul Seaver said. "From my perspective it's very important."
Seaver fondly recalls playing at WPI during his time in a Scarlet Hawks' uniform. Current assistant coaches Chris Traficante and Aaron Annaballi were seniors when Milford stormed back from 19 points down to beat Wachusett in the Division 1 semifinal en route to a Central Mass. crown.
In each of the past three seasons, MHS has come up short of getting to WPI. The Hawks have missed the postseason on a couple of those occasions, and fell short in a quarterfinal matchup with Nashoba a season ago. Milford finally earned a trip back to WPI this year to face Marlboro in Tuesday's Division 2 district semifinal.
"We talked about it during the offseason, it was an annual thing for Milford hoops going back to the early 2000s and before, but it hasn't been so much in the past 10 years," Seaver said. "We have been in position to do it, and it's a great stepping stone."
Milford boys' basketball playing at WPI was an annual occurrence for more than two decades under Hall of Fame head coach Steve Manguso. Most of the time, playing against Division 1 competition and significantly larger schools, the Scarlet Hawks' seasons ended on that floor.
The tough beats only sharpen the memories of the great wins. At the top of the list was when Milford rained down threes and held off a previously-unbeaten St. John High School team in 1998 and then outlasted Holy Name to win the district in 1998. When Milford High moved to the Eastern Mass. Hockomock League, fate — and a curious MIAA alignment decision — left the Hawks in Central Mass. Division 1. 
MHS has since moved down a division to play with similarly sized schools, but Seaver hopes WPI once again becomes a perennial stop for the program.
"The kids have been working towards it," Seaver said. "If we can make this our team goal every year, that is what I would like to have."




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