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Milford Hoops Begins First Season Under New Coach

It will be a new-look team that takes the floor for Milford High School basketball, both between the lines and on the sideline. The Scarlet Hawks graduated eight seniors from a team that went 20-4 and captured the Central Mass Sectional championship last season, and Jay Potty is set to take over for Hall of Fame coach Steve Manguso as the varsity head coach.
"The kids have been working hard and getting better, but we all know we have a long way to go" said Potty. "We don't have a lot of time before the first game."
Potty has worked under Manguso for the past nine years, so the players are familiar to him and vice versa and he has been able to quickly get a handle on his squad's strengths and weaknesses.
"Offensively we are going to be a good team, I think we can score with anyone," he said. "But we have to be better defensively, whether it's in man-to-man or zone, that has been the most glaring area for improvement so far."
Tight defense was always a Manguso-staple. The Hawks allowed 50 points per game last season, the lowest total of any team in the Hockomock's Davenport division. Milford graduated all five starters, including talented frontcourt players David Mercier and Mike Tracy and point guard Joe Atkinson, among others. Potty sees the transition as an opportunity for the players he has this year.
"We lost all of the guys who brought leadership and they were a great bunch of guys," he said. "But for the seniors this year, this is their year, their team. Last year's team was full of leaders and we need to do the same this year. We have been harping on that, we need to work as one."
Matt Grose is expected to take over at point guard. Potty calls the senior a polished offensive player and he can shoot as well as score off the dribble. Senior shooting guard Jordan Johnson will join Grose in the backcourt.
"Both of those guys have put in so much time and effort to get themselves better over the past couple of years," said Potty. "They play in summer league, they go to camps, they play in the fall, they just play basketball all the time."
Milford will not feature a lot of size. Mercier and Tracy stood 6'6" and 6'4", respectively. This year, seniors Andrew Garber and Sean Fitzpatrick will be key frontcourt cogs. Garber checks in at 6'2" while Fitzpatrick is closer to 6'0". "Andrew is our biggest guy and he has a good inside game," said Potty. "He can finish around the basket and he just works his butt off defensively and on the boards.
"Sean is super athletic, and we are going to need both of those guys to rebound. We are undersized, but that doesn't mean we can't excel on the boards with good technique and effort."
Unlike last season, Milford will be competing for a spot in the Division 2 South Sectional tournament, rather than Division 1 Central. The Scarlet Hawks get their second run through the Hockomock League. Milford won the Davenport division in 2012-2013 with a 13-3 league mark.
"It's a very competitive league with a lot of good teams," said Potty. "Mansfield and Taunton are always very strong in the large school division and we will be in the small school division with Oliver Ames and Sharon who are very good. I think we will be competitive though, if we do the right things out there, guard, and get stops."
Milford tips off the 2013-2014 campaign Friday night at home against North Attleboro.




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