MILFORD 55, RICHFIELD SPRINGS 54
The Tri-Valley League’s East Division title was decided on Wednesday’s final shot. Unfortunately for the Richfield Springs Indians and the hometown fans packed into their gymnasium, Peyton Griffiths took that shot for Milford.
Griffiths’ fade-away jumper with less than three seconds on the clock and three defenders in his face gave Milford’s Wildcats a 55-54 win and the division title. A Richfield Springs win would have tied the teams and forced them to play another game Thursday in Laurens.
Milford (13-3, 12-1 TVL) held a one-game lead in the standings on the strength of a 56-45 win at home in the teams’ previous meeting. The game proved as close as the standings with Richfield Springs (14-3, 10-3 TVL) holding the largest lead at seven points in the third quarter.
A basket by Lucas VanRiper gave the Indians a 54-53 lead in the final minute and Richfield Springs got the ball back with 47 seconds left to play. VanRiper again drove to the basket and missed his shot. A Milford player grabbed the rebound but lost his footing and was called for a travel when he fell to the floor.
Richfield Springs got the ball inbounds but Thomas Woroby also slipped and his traveling violation gave possession to the Wildcats at the 21.9-second mark. Following a timeout, Milford took the ball down the court looking for a chance to take the lead. Griffiths’ first shot would not fall but he got the ball back and had it knocked out of his hands and out of bounds with seven seconds remaining. The Wildcats got the ball back to their leading scorer on the right wide of the lane and he put up a shot under pressure from about 12 feet away. The ball caught the front rim, bounced up and dropped trough as the final seconds ticked away.
The referees put 2.1 seconds on the clock but Richfield Springs’ long pass into the front court was stolen by Elijah Coley to seal the win for Milford.
Griffiths finished with a game-high 24 points for the Wildcats who will meet West Division champion Morris Saturday to play for the league title at SUNY-Oneonta. Nine of Griffiths’ points came in the fourth quarter when Milford made four of its five foul shots and Richfield Springs went 0-for-2.
The Wildcats were 0-for-4 in the first three quarters.
Keegan Wheelock-Tanner scored 18 points, VanRiper added 14 and Ben Smith had 13 for Richfield Springs.
The teams are seeded third and fourth for Section IV’s Class D playoffs and both will play at home Wednesday. Richfield Springs, seeded fourth, takes on Edmeston while No. 4 Milford hosts Cherry Valley-Springfield. Morris is the No. 1 seed.
MILFORD WILDCATS 55, RICHFIELD SPRINGS INDIANS 54
MILFORD (13-3, 12-1 TVL) — Blake Elliott 0 1-2 1; Peyton Griffiths 10 1-3 24; Stephen Banks 1 0-0 3; William Ward 1 0-0 3; Elijah Coley 2 0-0 4; Paul VanWarner 1 0-0 2; Max Lang 3 0-2 6; Jacob Tabor 1 2-2 4; Elijah Rutledge 4 0-0 8. Totals: 23 4-9 55.
Page 2 of 2 - RICHFIELD SPRINGS (14-3, 10-3 TVL) — Keegan Wheelock-Tanner 5 4-4 18; Lucas VanRiper 6 2-6 14; Joe Kelly 0 4-6 4; Thomas Worobey 2 0-0 5; Matt Siver 0 0-0 0; Chris Young 0 0-0 0; Steven Holland 0 0-0 0; Roman Hula 0 0-0 0; Evan Swartout 0 0-0 0; Ben Smith 6 0-0 13. Totals: 19 10-16 54.
Milford 12 13 14 16 — 55
Richfield Springs 13 16 11 14 — 54
Three-pointers — Milford 5 (Griffiths 3, Banks 1, Ward 1); Richfield Springs 6 (Wheelock-Tanner 4, Smith 1, Worobey 1). JV — Richfield Springs won.