Trailing Milford 62-59 late in the fourth quarter, four straight points from Stanley Sajous gave the Stoughton High boys' basketball team a 63-62 lead with 2:19 left to play.
But Milford scored the game's final seven points down the stretch, winning 69-63, spoiling the Black Knights home opener Friday night.
As a result, Stoughton falls to 1-2, with both loses coming in the final minutes of play. Milford is now 3-0.
"We played two close games down to the wire and didn't do a great job in either one," Stoughton coach John Gallivan said. "We're working on it and I think in a couple of weeks we'll be better at it."
Entering the fourth quarter tied at 46, Aaron Anniballi helped Milford to a 10-3 run, with the Hawks taking a 58-51 lead with five minutes to play. Mauro Oliveira kept Stoughton in the game, however, with three 3-pointers.
Following the Sajous lay-in to give Stoughton the one-point lead, Milford came right back with Michael Titlebaum hitting a 3-pointer to give the Hawks a 65-63 lead. Joey Wilder appeared to have tied the score on the other end, but an offensive foul negated the basket.
After the teams traded missed shots, a David Mercier lay-up gave the Hawks a two-possession lead with 47 seconds to go. Michael Tracy scored with 16.5 seconds left to cement the Milford victory.
"We didn't shoot well for most of the night, but we hung around. At times we didn't defend well, but we hung around. We gave it everything. We just need to learn as a group to get over the hump," Gallivan said.
In what was a pattern throughout the game, Stoughton fell behind by multiple possessions, but came back to make it a one-possession game or take a small lead.
The Black Knights trailed 7-0 midway through the first, but closed the deficit to just one, 10-9 at the end of the first. After Milford went up 21-13 in the early second quarter, Stoughton, led by Joe Bunce-Grenon, came storming back and took a 32-31 lead into the half. A back and forth third quarter gave way to Milford opening the game up to start the fourth only to have Stoughton climb back again, thanks in part to Oliveira. But Milford had the final run.
"I thought after a horrific start the kids really did a nice job at bouncing back, but I think it took a lot out of them as the game went on," Gallivan said.
Stoughton's loss somewhat overshadows a spectacular second quarter performance from Bunce-Grenon who scored 13 of his game-high 19 points in the second.
"That's what he's capable of," Gallivan said. "He's an athletic kid who can take over at times. Hopefully we'll see some more of that. That was fun to watch."
Bunce-Grenon also had 2 blocks and a steal. Oliveira added 12 points and 8 rebounds; Wilder also had 8 rebounds to go along with 7 points; Middleton added 7 points and 8 assists. Sajous, Mike Gallagher and Eddie Grant all chipped in with 6 points a piece.
Anniballi led Milford with 14 points, 12 of which came in the fourth quarter.
Stoughton shot 8/15 from the foul line, but attempted just one free throw in the second half. Milford was on fire from inside the arc in the second half, converting 13 of 18 field goals around the paint.
Stoughton will look to bounce back at the two-game Randolph Holiday Tournament, Dec. 27 and Dec. 29.