A win is a win.
Still, Morris boys basketball coach Dave Sander was anything but pleased after Saturday’s 34-27 Tri-Valley League championship victory over Milford.
“I’m absolutely frustrated with my seniors,” Sander said after winning his second straight T-V title and third in the last four seasons. “We had a meltdown in the fourth quarter, and as an experienced team, we shouldn’t be doing that.”
Senior guard Mike DeLuca followed Sander’s lead, finding little joy in his game-high 15-point performance.
“It was a sloppy game,” DeLuca said. “I was the leading scorer, but I had an awful game. Don’t give me any credit; give it to my teammates. Levi Decker didn’t score a lot of points, but he had a good game. Kerry Smith played a great game. Give them the credit.”
Although the T-V boys had the prime-time spot as the 8 p.m. finale for Saturday’s championship quadruple-header at Oneonta State, their title game hardly resembled a main event.
Milford had a particularly difficult time scoring at Dewar Arena, amassing a grand total of 12 points in three-plus quarters.
“We played awful for three quarters,” Milford coach Frank Spurchise said. “Give all the credit to their defense. They took us out of our game. They made it difficult to run our offense. It was not the best shooting night for us, but give them credit for that, too.”
Skylar Maricle made two free throws with 6 minutes, 45 seconds left to give Morris a 28-12 lead. About three minutes later, the Mustangs (16-1) held a 31-14 advantage when Decker scored their only fourth-quarter field goal for their biggest lead.
The Wildcats (13-4) didn’t go away, though.
Peyton Griffiths and Jacob Tabor made back-to-back layups before Will Ward hit a three-point field goal to cut Milford’s deficit to 10 points with a little more than two minutes to go.