MARYSVILLE - It wasn't just another game. This time it was personal.
Eric Williams took a quick glance at the scoreboard at the end of the first half and flashed a subtle smile. Without saying a word, the senior forward had made his point.
New Haven entered halftime leading St. Clair 28-0 in its Class B district semifinal. After continuing to dominate the remainder of the way, New Haven left the Marysville High School gym with a resounding 53-17 victory over St. Clair.
ADVERTISING"We pride ourselves on our defense," Williams said after outscoring St. Clair by himself with 19 points. "Today we came out and defended well. They were trying to stall. I don't know what they were thinking.
"I think it was great to come and win like this in my last time against them. I know they don't like me."
Ben Davidson and Devin Dombrow each scored four points for St. Clair (15-8). But those points didn't arrive until the second half. New Haven pressured the Saints into a host of turnovers throughout the game and the Saints never got into a rhythm.
"We didn't execute the first five minutes," St. Clair coach Shawn Sharrow said. "That's been our story the whole year. I thought we had a good prep going in. We didn't get off to a good start.
'"We wanted to spread them out and take some time out of possessions. When you get down 10-0 that took us out of our gameplan."
Romeo Weems added 14 points for New Haven (22-1) and Ashton Sherrell and AJ Crawford each scored seven.
"They didn't really want to play," Weems said. "They came out slow and sluggish. We got turnovers. It's always an intense game when we play them because of the past."
That past revolves around Williams, who played for St. Clair before transferring to New Haven. After facing plenty of backlash, Williams has worked on his game to become one of the best players in the area. On Wednesday, he got revenge by outscoring his old team and thrusting the Rockets in the district finals.
New Haven will face Marysville at 7 p.m. Friday.
"We just pride ourselves in taking away their practice," New Haven coach Tedaro France II said. "We watch a lot of film. We prepare the kids well and the kids prepare themselves well.
They kind of took this game personal. It's always a big game. We played them in the same league the last six or seven years. It's kind of like a rivalry there. We knew this was going to be a good game.
"They were going to bring their best and we had to be at our best. Holding them scoreless in the first half is something I have never seen as a player or a coach."