“But, I will take this over those any day of the week.’’
Milford was attempting to win its first regional title in 17 years and this was the Bearcats first postseason victories since reaching the regional final in 2008.
“These kids have overcame a lot of obstacles this year,’’ said Spezia, who missed more than six weeks after being severely injured in a automobile accident on New Year’s eve. “I feel bad for the kids, because there are some things that I think we could have done differently. But, give Salt Fork the credit.’’
Earlier this year, the Bearcats cruised the Storm in a Saturday morning contest in Sheldon. According to Spezia the biggest difference was Learnard, who was held scoreless in the regular-season game.
“I wasn’t in foul trouble this time around,’’ Learnard said. “But as a team, we were also more aggressive against their zone. We were always in attack mode this time around, always looking for a good shot.’’
Stutsman said that attitude was developed in Thursday’s practice.
“Coach had a specific game plan,’’ Stutsman said. “We put in a couple of new plays just to attack their zone. I thought Noah Darr, playing the point guard position for us tonight, really stepped up well. That was a big part to our success.’’
Rogers and Alex Portwood shared team-high scoring honors for Milford with 15 points each, while Jeff Cann finished with 13.
Salt Fork, with the win, advances to Danville Area Community College Sectional where it will play St. Anne in an 7:30 p.m. game on Tuesday. The first semifinal will feature Arthur-Lovington against Champaign St. Thomas More.
In the Country Financial 3-point Showdown, Stutsman, who reached the state finals a year ago, won the regional title with 10 made 3-pointers. Also advancing from the Catlin Regional were Schlarman’s Gavin Stines and Armstrong-Potomac’s Shawn Johnson.