MILFORD — Round one in the match-up of the undefeated Tri-Valley League heavyweights went to Edmeston.
Logan Vibbard scored 16 of his game-high 24 points in the second quarter, and the Panthers held host Milford scoreless for the first six-and-a-half minutes of the fourth quarter to break open a close game en route to a 64-57 victory.
“We tell them all the time, we’re not going to win many games with our offense,” Edmeston coach Darren Belden said. “We have got to win with our defense. In the second half, I feel like we were able to play our defense.”
The Panthers led most of the second half but trailed, 43-42, after Peyton Griffiths hit a free throw with 4:01 left in the third quarter. Griffiths, who scored the Wildcats’ first 14 points of the quarter, drove the left baseline, made a layup and then converted a free throw after drawing a foul from Brandon Fallon.
The Panthers responded by scoring the next 10 points. Clayton Lyon started the run with a baseline drive from the right side. Vibbard made a three-pointer, Nick DeVries scored on a putback and Linton Wainright hit a three from the top of the key with 1:37 left in the quarter to give Edmeston a 52-43 cushion.
The Wildcats closed the quarter with two three-pointers. Will Ward scored on an assist from Griffiths and Elijah Rutledge banked in a shot at the buzzer to trim the Wildcats’ deficit to 52-49.
Milford wouldn’t get any closer as the Panthers scored the first 11 points of the fourth quarter. The Wildcats didn’t score again until Ward hit his fourth and final three-pointer, with 1:30 left.
“That’s what we do,” Vibbard said. “We play tough man-to-man defense. That’s our game.”
The fast break was a big part of Edmeston’s game, too.