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And on the day after, they rested.
New Haven canceled boys basketball practice Wednesday as the team and the town soaked in the Rockets’ 108-103, triple-overtime victory at Flint Beecher from the night before.
Talk at businesses in and around the village was about the non-league game that started late because the preceding JV game went into overtime, one the visiting Rockets won despite 63 points by the Buccaneers’ Malik Ellison.
“It was a night of unbelievable basketball,” Casco Township resident Dick Leidecker said.
Leidecker, a former baseball coach at Lincoln who serves on the basketball scoring crew for Abes games, makes a habit of attending marquee games when Lincoln is idle or on the road.
He wasn’t disappointed by the show put on by Beecher, which has won four of the last five state Class C championships, and New Haven, which will try later this month to win a third straight Class B regional crown.
“I can’t remember too many games like this one,” Leidecker said. “What an atmosphere. The place was packed.”
Eric Williams Jr., whose scoring carried the Rockets to the championship of the MAC Blue-Gold tournament last week, led New Haven with 38 points. The senior who has signed with Davis & Elkins College in West Virginia also had 15 rebounds and nine assists as New Haven ran its winning streak to 18 games.
Romeo Weems, a 6-foot-6 sophomore who has had scholarship offers from Michigan State and Ohio State, had 22 points, 24 rebounds, seven blocked shots, five assists and five steals before fouling out in the first overtime.
Ronald Jeffery Jr. added 27 points and made five steals as he continued to emerge as a key member of the Rocket roster.
Weems was one of three New Haven starters who fouled out. Guard A.J. Crawford was called for his fifth foul in regulation time and Ashton Sherrell fouled out in the first OT.
“It was a great game with a great basketball environment,” Tedaro France II, the New Haven coach and a former Rockets player, said in an e-mail.
“It was amazing, one of the better games I have ever seen or been part of in terms of all the dynamics involved with lead changes, big shots, adversity with foul-outs, rotations and kids stepping up and not only playing but making big plays.”
France himself was a storyline.
The man who achieved his 150th career coaching victory when New Haven beat Lake Shore in the Blue-Gold title game at Anchor Bay on Saturday was released from a hospital hours before the game.
France had been hospitalized for two days with a heart condition.
“I am doing … a lot better,” he wrote in the email.
Beecher (15-5) was ranked in a tie for fourth this week in The Associated Press state Class C poll. New Haven (19-1) was third in Class B.
Ellison made 17 of 30 shots from the field. Of his 17 baskets, 11 were 2-pointers, and he was six-of-11 from 3-point range. The 5-8 senior guard, who hopes to play both basketball and football in college, made 23 of 26 free throws.
France called Ellison’s game a “special performance.”
The game did not start until after 8 p.m., due in part to the length of the JV contest that New Haven also won.
“We are not practicing today,” France wrote. “It was a late night for us, and the kids are exhausted.”
New Haven’s next game will be at home Monday against Marine City in a district tournament quarterfinal.
The winner of that contest advances to the district semifinals that will be at Marysville, the tournament host.
New Haven, with only a loss to MAC Red champion Dakota to blemish its record this season, went 10-0 in MAC Blue games prior to the Blue-Gold tournament.
Williams scored 118 points in the Rockets’ three Blue-Gold games. Jeffery had 16 in the tournament final.