Milford Knights win Holiday Basketball championship
The Milford Knights Blue 6th grade boys basketball travel team captured its second tournament championship of the season by taking down Trumbull Black, 42-17, in the finals of the annual Insports Holiday Basketball Tournament Saturday in Trumbull.
Suffocating defense and outside shooting paved the way for Milford in the first quarter. John Neider led the way seven points, followed by Ethan Long (5 points) and Brendan Buchner (3 points).
In the second quarter, Nolan McKenna-Hansen added four points in the paint for the Knights and Aidan Ryan and Jacob Cupole sparked the defense in lifting the Knights to a 21-3 halftime lead.
The stifling defense and hot shooting continued in the second half for the Knights, with Jeanero King and Riley Jordan each adding four points to help the Knights to championship.
The Knights opened the tournament by facing Torrington. The Knights jumped out to a 25-6 halftime lead and cruised to a 39-16 victory. Offensively, the Knights were led by Neider (10 points), Long (7) with Buchner, Jordan, Zach Worzel and McKenna-Hansen chipping in with four points each.
In the tournament second round, the Knights took on East Haven.
Holding on to a 20-16 advantage at halftime, the Knights used an explosive third quarter to pull away by outscoring East Haven 16-4 in the quarter. Neider led the way with eight of his team-high 14 points. Buchner added six points and Jordan, Worzel, King, Long and McKenna-Hansen each finishing with four points on their way to a 46-27 win.
In the tournament semifinals, the Knights took on the undefeated Bridgeport Chargers.
The Knights got on the board quickly in the first quarter on baskets by Jack Aliberti and Neider and free throws by Long, Worzel and Neider to take a 9-6 lead.
Buchner’s two driving layups, McKenna-Hansen’s put back and Cole Pleiman’s jumper from just inside the arc gave the Knights a 17-9 halftime lead.
Holding on to a 20-16 lead after the third quarter, the Knights used their free throw shooting to put the game out of reach. In the decisive fourth quarter, Buchner sank six clutch free throws, Neider four and Pleiman one to move the Knights into the finals.
The Knights placed three members on the all-tourney team in Neider, Buchner and Long with Neider earning tourney Most Outstanding Player Award.
The 16-4 Knights play next on Saturday, Jan. 7, in an FCBL match-up against East Haven, followed by MKBL match-ups on Sunday against rival Orange Wolverines and Guilford Travel.