MIDDLETOWN: The third-ranked Middletown Cavaliers pulled away from the seventh ranked Appo Jags in the third overtime for a comfortable 98-87 win in boys basketball.
However, the game was anything but comfortable for the Cavaliers.
The visitors from the east side of town held a 61-51 lead with :90 to go in regulation. Then the Jags fought back with clutch foul shooting and baskets from Riley Buzby, Daniel Harvey, and a quick layup off a steal by Kaleb Ra’lfa to tie the game at 63-63.
Appo’s Harvey drained a right wing “three” to start the overtime period to put the Jags up 66-63. Then a possession later, Harvey fouled out. Like two prizefighters trading punches, the game was “back-and-forth” as neither team would lead by more than three points in the first overtime.
At the end of the bonus period, Clyde Frasier scored on a strong move in the paint, and Ra’lfa converted both free throws with :02 to tie the game at 71-71 and send us into the 2nd overtime.
Just like the first 4:00 overtime, the second OT saw both teams trading baskets.
The Jags went up 75-71 after Carrier found Ra’lfa for an easy layup. Mifflin hit a long range jumper and added a floater off the glass to put Middletown up by a point. The home team Jags scored on a full court pass from Riley Buzby to Ra’lfa for a layup and a 77-76 advantage.
The Cavaliers trailed by two with :22 left as Mifflin sank three foul shots giving the Cavs the 80-79 lead. The Jags took the lead right back at 81-80 after Ra’lfa made two free throws with just :06 left.
Then Mifflin raced down the court, drove the lane and was fouled with barely a second left. He made the first, but missed the second to send the game into a third extra period tied at 81-all.
The Cavaliers struggled a bit late in regulation and in the first overtime from the line, but they turned things around in the final OT, sinking 9 out of 10 foul shots.
Mifflin made 7 of those 8 attempts as Middletown built the advantage to three possessions on the way to the 98-87 win.
Appo fell to 10-6 and 2-4 in Flight A. Kaleb Ra’lfa poured in 22 points, Dillon Griffith scored 16 and Daniel Harvey fouled out with 20 points to lead the Jags.
Both teams literally “left everything on the floor,” said Middletown head coach Azeez Ali in a post-game interview. “Appo played their tails off. It was two well-coached teams, playing with a lot of heart. … The difference in the game was, we were able to make free throws in the third overtime.”
Middletown was paced by Mifflin with 29 points. Frasier scored 15, while Akendre Matthews came off the bench to add 17 points for the Cavs.
Middletown improved to 12-3 (5-0 Flight A) and extended its win streak to 10.
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