Milford beats Lebanon in overtime

MILFORD – Jack Briggs and Kirk Palladino combined for 33 points for the Milford High School boys basketball team in a 54-43 overtime victory over visiting Lebanon on Thursday night.

A win Spartans coach Dan Murray was thrilled with.

“Great win,” Murray said. “We came out and battled tonight, pretty hard.”

The Spartans (11-7) went out to an early 5-0 lead in the first quarter behind a basket from senior forward Drew Jepson and a three-pointer from senior guard Jordan Delgado. The Spartans did not allow the Raiders (14-4) to score until with 2:46 left in the first quarter when sophomore guard K.J. Matte (21 points) scored.

“The key is to come out and play (defense) and get (ourselves going) right away,” Murray said. “We came out and we did play real good (defense with) real good communication.”

The Spartans took a 6-5 lead out of the first quarter and then began the second quarter with a 7-0 run that ended with a basket by Briggs (19 points) to give the Spartans a 13-5 advantage. Senior guard Drew Lesmerises scored a basket to give the Spartans an 18-11 lead and then followed it up by taking a charge. The Spartans went into halftime holding a 22-15 lead.

Palladino (14 points) connected on a 3-pointer in the third quarter to give the Spartans their first double-digit lead of the game at 32-21. Senior forward Noah Mayes answered for the Raiders with a basket and then junior forward Daniel Murray scored an old-fashioned three-point play to give the Spartans a 35-23 advantage with 2:27 left in the third.

Matte (scored 17 of his 21 points in the second half) responded by scoring the next four points in the game to trim the Spartans’ lead to 35-27 going into the fourth quarter.

Palladino would register a basket in the fourth that pushed the Spartans advantage up to 39-31.

The Raiders then outscored the Spartans 8-0 the rest of regulation and that run ended with a basket from sophomore guard Graham Chickering with just under a minute remaining to even the game at 39-39. The game would progress to overtime as neither team scored the rest of regulation.

In the extra session, the Spartans outscored the Raiders 15-4. Matte got the scoring started in the extra session by putting the Raiders up 41-39. The Spartans responded with a 6-0 run that concluded with a basket from Delgado.

Matte scored to trim the Spartans’ lead to 45-43. Off an inbound pass, Palladino passed the ball to Briggs who caught it in stride and finished it to give the Spartans a 47-43 lead.

Palladino made four foul shots the rest of the way and Briggs made three free throws for the Spartans.

“They’re like our two leaders,” Murray said of Briggs and Palladino. “When we go to free throws (and) we put (Palladino) and (Briggs) at the line we’re in pretty good shape.”