Article: Stellar backcourt of Milliken & Ptacek highlight Padua rout of Valley Forge
Entering the 2012/2013 Boys Basketball season, all the attention at Padua was focused on Senior Guard Tyler Ptacek.
Ptacek, the UNC-Wilmington recruit, entered the year with 998 career points and scored his 1000th career point just seconds into the Bruins' season opener at Valley Forge on Friday night.
But it was Ptacek's backcourt partner for the past three years, Senior Matt Milliken, who stole the spotlight on Friday night as the visiting Bruins put a beating on host Valley Forge, 79-48.
Milliken netted 24 points in the first half alone, including three from beyond the arc. At halftime, Milliken's 24 points was more than the entire Patriots squad, who had 21.
"My teammates were getting me the ball, and I was able to get it out on the fast break," said Milliken. "I was hitting my layups and my pull-up jumpers. They were doubling Ty, and he was kicking it out to me for open threes. I was just hitting them.
"Coach Lantz has been telling us that we have to outwork the other team," Milliken continued. "I think everyone knows that, and it's in all of us now. We out-hustled them and won."
Milliken and Ptacek have been the starting backcourt for the Brown and White since their Sophomore year in 2010/2011, with Ptacek doing much more of the scoring and gaining most of the attention. Milliken, who has been starting since day one Freshman year, says that doesn't bother him.
"No, not at all," said Milliken when asked if he thought he was ever in the spotlight of Ptacek. "Because me and Ty are different players. My job is to set up the offense. But, I've been working a lot in the offseason on my offensive game. I definitely feel that if they're going to focus on him, I can do what I did to night and score 15-30 points."
The scoring barrage opened the floodgates for the Bruins, who maintained a comfortable 42-21 advantage at halftime. Not all of that was a product of Milliken's shooting, as the inside play of Senior Joe Leary and the scrappy defense of Senior Andrew Halter were key factors as well.
"When these kids make up their mind offensively and move the ball around, we have some players," said Padua Head Coach Jake Lantz. "Joe Leary stepped up and played a great game for us tonight. Andrew Halter defensively stopped I think 10-12 points on his help side. It's going to be a fun year, that's for sure."
The second half brought much of the same, as Padua outscored the Patriots 21-11 in the 3rd Quarter and cruised to the 79-48 victory.
"This is great, there's no better feeling," said Ptacek of the win. "The way everyone stepped up was awesome."
Ptacek tallied 12 points, four rebounds, and two assists on the night. He now sits at 1,010 career points and has become just the second player in Padua history to surpass the milestone of 1,000 career points.
"This means a lot," said Ptacek of the feat. "It's all that I've been working for. It feels good to it in the first game of the year."
In addition to his 30 points, Milliken dished out four assists. Leary scored 12 points and grabbed 6 rebounds, while Senior Mark Huml pulled down seven rebounds of his own.
For Valley Forge, Nik Postolowski led the way with 14 points. Romello Dotson added seven points and five rebounds.
The victory puts Padua at 1-0 on the young season, giving Lantz his first win as head coach. Next up for the Bruins will be a trip down to Akron to battle North Coast League rival Archbishop Hoban next Friday.
"We have to get better still," said Lantz, who coached the girls team at Padua for eight years in the late 1990s and early 2000s. "We went down and scouted Hoban, and they're pretty tight. We have to take care of the basketball and do a little bit better job defensively."