The only thing that could stop New Haven star Romeo Weems was a bloody jersey.
Weems, a 4-star forward and the state's top junior, had to leave Tuesday's regular season finale against Flint Beecher late in the second quarter after getting blood on his jersey.
"I just wanted to bring some energy," said Weems, who normally wears No. 1 but changed to No. 32. "I have to come through for my team."
Not to be deterred and wearing a different number, Weems scored 20 of his 26 points in the second half, including numerous powerful dunks, leading the host Rockets to an 81-70 win over Beecher. Weems, averaging 23.9 points per game this season, added 12 rebounds, seven assists and two steals.
"We didn't really have a matchup for him," Buccaneers coach Mike Williams said. "I know Romeo and New Haven is a very good program. He's a fabulous player."
New Haven (20-0), last year's Class B state champions, improved its program-record win streak to 46 games. The Rockets' last loss came to Macomb Dakota in last season's second game.
I don't believe anybody can stop us but ourselves," Weems said. "We work hard every day at practice, don't take any days off. We were real hyped (against Beecher)."
Senior Ashton Sherrell finished with 22 points and 10 rebounds for New Haven, and junior Ronald Jeffery II added 12 points, eight rebounds and five assists.
Senior Theatrice King had 24 points and sophomore Jalen Terry added 15 points for the Buccaneers (12-8), the three-time defending Class C state champs.
With several college coaches in attendance, including Michigan's John Beilein and Detroit Mercy's Bacari Alexander, Weems didn't disappoint.
After a slow start in the first half and Beecher staying step for step — the score was tied 30-30 at the intermission —Weems had 14 points in the third quarter to help the Rockets open a 55-48 lead.
Weems finished his third alley-oop dunk of the game, with an assist from Jeffery, to put New Haven ahead, 55-43, late in the period. His best dunk came late in the first quarter, as he charged in from the baseline and caught an alley-oop pass from Tavares Oliver Jr. with one hand and slammed it home.
"I brought some energy, got a couple steals, some lobs," Weems said.
Keeping it close
With New Haven trying to cap its perfect regular season, the visiting Bucs put a scare into the home crowd. The Rockets led, 18-11, after the first quarter, but Beecher used a strong second quarter to tie it.
"That's why we picked this game," New Haven coach Tedaro France II said of facing the Bucs. "They've won five of the last six Class C state championships. They're a well-coached team, they play hard. That was a great test for us before postseason play."
As the Rockets tried to pull away in the fourth quarter, leading 57-48, Beecher used a spurt to get within 61-55 with 4:30 left. New Haven answered, though, scoring the next six points, including four points by Jeffery, to regain control.