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Milford Girls Playoff Bound

Milford high school's girls basketball team is headed for the district tournament after wrapping up the regular season 10-10. The Scarlet Hawks picked up the qualifying victory on Valentine's Day with a win over Marlboro. Head coach Tricia Cullen said the feeling on the team was palpable. "Girls were really excited to get that victory because they worked hard all year," she said. "We played great defense and we were able to get that win a little bit earlier than expected."
In the last two victories that got Milford to the 10 win mark, senior Nashley Gonzales showed the way offensively, putting up back-to-back 19 point efforts and connecting on four three-pointers against Marlboro. "She's been doing very well and playing very aggressively," said assistant coach Ed Healey. "Lately her outside shot has been on fire, it seems like she's putting it in whenever she wants to and from anywhere on the court."
Milford has also received contributions from Brittany Hill, who has been playing both center and power forward. She is only 5'9" tall, and gives away two or three inches against most other teams' frontcourt players. Despite this, she has been a double double-threat in nearly every game. She picked up 20 points to lead all scorers against Marlboro and controlled the glass with 20 rebounds in the victory over Leominster. "She's been great," Cullen said about Hill. "She has really continued to work hard all season rebounding and on defense."
Cullen also credited one of Hill's classmates, junior Chrissy Fraga, for turning an undersized Scarlett Hawks team into a strong rebounding squad. "(Hill and Fraga) have both been doing an outstanding job, they are really fundamentally strong and box out every time and get a good jump on the ball," she said.
Cullen has seen her team improve on both sides of the ball as the season has gone on. Earlier in the year, Milford struggled at times to score, but towards the end of the season that has proved most notably in an 80 point performance against league rival Fitchburg. Head coach has seen the effort level rise on defense as well. "I think our intensity on defense has really picked up, especially in our press," said Cullen.
Healey likes the fact that the team has come to play consistently. "We have been competitive in every game, especially against some of the perennial power in our league," he said. "We didn't roll over for any teams and are never out of games at halftime. It's been a great effort by a team without a ton of veterans."
Depending on how the district seeding shakes out, Milford may find itself playing any of a number of teams and it's uncertain whether they will start the playoffs at home or on the road. Cullen is more focused on her own team. "As long as the girls step off the bus ready to play, we will be okay," she said. "Right now we are working on Milford's game, no matter who we play, we need to be prepared and set the tone right away."




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