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February 28, 2013

H-T ends Milford basketball season

Second half comeback leads to 37-30 loss

By Greg Klein
Cooperstown Crier

---- — MILFORD

Senior guard Zach Mudge scored seven of his game-high 16 points during the third quarter Saturday night, when Hunter-Tannersville took control of its 37-30 boys basketball upset of Milford in a Section Four Class D quarterfinal.

Fifth-seeded Hunter-Tannersville (15-4) entered halftime in a 20-15 hole but stole the momentum with a 14-4 third period. H-T opened the quarter on a 7-0 run that included five points from Mudge.

“Defensively, I don’t think anything changed for us in the second half,” said H-T coach Chris Glennon, whose team closed with an 8-6 advantage in the fourth quarter. “Our plan was to give a lot of resistance to (Peyton) Griffiths and Will Ward, and we were able to do that all game. All our defensive focus was on them.

“Offensively, we just slowed it down and found our sets,” he continued. “We came out believing in our plays and we put the ball in the basket. I didn’t yell at them at all at halftime. I think they thought I was going to shake the paint off the walls, but I just told them to settle down and play our game.”

Sophomore guard Griffiths made one of two free throws to pull fourth-seeded Milford to 33-30 with 3 minutes, 24 seconds left. Milford failed to score again, though.

“I don’t want to say it was inexperience, but I do think it came down to composure,” said Milford coach Frank Spurchise, whose 13-man roster includes 10 underclassmen. “Our guys haven’t been here before. It seemed at times like we were trying to make up six points on one basket. They have guys like Mudge and (Dylan) Legg that, obviously, they have played in some big games before and it showed.”

Mudge and Legg made two free throws apiece in the final 90 seconds for H-T, which finished 11-for-25 from the foul line. Milford’s dry spell couldn’t have come at a better time for H-T, which made four of 11 free throw attempts in the last two minutes.

Legg scored 10 points and Neal Statts had seven points and 11 rebounds for Delaware League-affiliate H-T (15-4).

Ward, who scored two three-pointers, and Griffiths each scored eight points for Milford (14-5). 

Spurchise said he told his players after the game that they had a lot to be proud of this season, which included a perfect record in the Tri-Valley League East and a division title.

“The important thing to be said is we had an unbelievable, wonderful year,” he said. “It certainly exceeded my expectations. I told them we can’t let this one game be our memory of the season.

“I told them to look around the room,” he continued. “I know we are saying goodbye to three seniors, but we have 10 guys coming back next season. I don’t think any other teams in the league will be able to say that. Our future is very bright.”