Milford Knights win Fairfield County tourney title

The Milford Knights Blue 5th Grade travel team added to its team’s trophy collection on Sunday by defeating the Stamford JCC Blue team, 37-35, for the Fairfield County Basketball League tournament title, before a raucous crowd at the Middlesex Middle School in Darien.

With 49 seconds remaining, Knights point guard Brendan Buchner hit a driving layup and was fouled. He converted the free throw giving the Knights its second championship in three weeks. Last month, the Knights won the Milford Sunday League Championship with a victory over rival Orange.

Stamford Blue came out aggressive right from the opening whistle with a quick basket. Stamford’s full court press earned them another basket and a quick 4-0 lead.

Milford would settle in and tie the game with baskets by John Neider and Ethan Long.

Another Neider hoop gave the Knights a 6-4 lead, and Riley Jordan drove in for another score to tie the score at 8-8 after one quarter.

Long got the Knights going to start the second quarter with a deep 3-pointer to give the Knights the lead at 11-8. Jack Aliberti hit a baseline jumper extending the lead to 13-10 and Brendan Buchner made two runners in the lane making it 17-12 Knights at the half.

The teams traded baskets in a hotly contested third quarter with both teams fighting for every loose ball. Jordan got the Knights going with a lay-up. Zach Worzel followed up a miss with an offensive put back and a 21-16 lead.

Neider chipped in five more points for the Knights and Long hit another jumper making it 28-23 after three.

With a large Stamford contingent in the stands, the JCC Blue team fought back with their crowd behind them. With chants of defense-defense deafening the gym, they were able to force some turnovers.

However, Long hit his second deep three of the game and added another hoop to take the Knights lead to 33-29. Stamford battled back and take a 35-34 lead before Milford answered the challenge with Brendan Buchner’s hoop and free throw to give the Milford Knights the hard fought title.

The 38-6 Knights will suit up next on Thursday, March 10, in the loser’s bracket semifinals of the St. Mark’s Tournament, where they look to avenge an earlier round loss to 6th grade St. Thomas Aquinas of Fairfield.

They will then be off to start the first round of the Charlie Rome Tournament in East Haven.