When the high school fall sports season ended in the middle of November, Milton High players, coaches, and fans of the winter teams had to endure a much longer wait than usual.

Wait for the ice rinks, courts, and ski slopes to be ready. Wait for the final go-ahead from the MIAA. Wait for the schedules to be completed. Wait for tryouts to begin and be completed.

As the days during which games would be played in normal times passed by, the anticipation grew and grew among the athletes, who were chomping at the bit to get back on their respective playing surfaces.

During the weekend of Jan. 8-10, the wait was finally over as both the boys and girls basketball and hockey teams opened their long-awaited winter seasons with four matchups against rival Walpole, followed by two more matchups

The boys basketball team was up first with a road date on Jan. 8 entering the contest led by starting backcourt duo of senior Andrew Lynch and junior Lateef Patrick, both of whom were named to the Boston Herald’s Division 2 South “Players To Watch” list.

Milton would have their hands full from the beginning, struggling on offense and mustering just six points in the first quarter. Walpole built a 12-point halftime lead before crushing the rest of the way to a 49-33 victory. Patrick led the way with eight points.

“We struggled offensively, individually, and collectively, against a tough Walpole defense,” head coach Billy Donovan said.

Four nights later, the boys traveled to Natick where Milton played a better all around game, but still came up short, 65-54. Patrick again led all scorers with 29 points.

Though the Wildcats have gotten off to a rocky start, Donovan still likes what he sees in his team.

“Although we are 0-2, I have seen positive things from all on our roster,” he said. “I am optimistic for the rest of the season and for the future.”

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