Selected by Coaches
Profiles by Chuck Klonke
Drew Arft, Lutheran North, 6-0, Junior>> Scored 23 points to lead Mustangs to non-league win vs. Anchor Bay. Averaged 19.5 points and 4.3 rebounds per-game to help team finish 13-9.
Jauron Vicks, Warren Woods-Tower, 6-4 Junior >> Had 27-point, 8-rebound effort vs. Lakeview. Helped Titans win LCN tournament and finish second in MAC Gold. Averaged 14.1 points, 5.7 rebounds per-game.
Romeo Weems, New Haven, 6-6, Freshman >> Quckly established himself as one of the top players for MAC Gold, district and regional champ. Had triple-double in league win vs. St. Clair.
Eric Williams Jr., New Haven, 6-4, Junior >> Made an immediate impact on Rockets’ season Averaged 16.5 points, 3 assists per-game.
Zivan Shackleford, South Lake, 5-8, Senior >> Steady guard scored Shackleford scored 32 points and made six steals against Center Line, and t had 20 points and five steals against Clawson. Also had 30 vs. Lincoln.
Ricky Dixon, Lake Shore, 6-3, Junior >> Split time between guard and forward for MAC Silver champions. Led Shorians in scoring with 13.3 average. Averaged nearly 5 rebounds per-game.
Jordan Jackson, Clintondale, 6-2, Senior >> Three-year varsity player improved steadily in his scoring and leadership roles for the Dragons.
Innocent Nwoko, New Haven, 6-11, Senior >> Has made such remarkable strides in his first three years of playing basketball that he earned a scholarship to Central Michigan.
Justin Parker, Michigan Collegiate, 6-4, Senior >> Helped carry the Cougars to a 13-10 record and a berth in the Class B district title game. Had 11 points and 11 rebounds in OT win vs. Lakeview.
Carl Pettway, Fitzgerald, 6-3, Sophomore >> Scored game-high 26 points in 63-56 victory against Grosse Pointe North. Had 18 points in a one-point loss to Lakeview.
C.J. Barnes, Warren Woods-Tower, 6-6 Senior >> Scored 26 points vs. G.P. North. Averaged 12.7 points, 7.5 rebounds per-game. Created matchup problems with perimeter shooting.
Chase Churchill, Richmond, 5-11, Sophomore >> Averaged 15 points and five rebounds for 15-5 Blue Devils team that graduated eight seniors. Had 27 points, 12 rebounds vs. Cros-Lex. Football QB.
Adam Job, Armada, 5-11, Sophomore >> Led the Tigers in scoring (10.7), assists (4.6), steals (3.4). Took over as starting point guard as a freshmen and handles the ball 80 percent of the time.
Anthony Morgan, South Lake, 6-4, Senior >> Hit fifth 3-pointer of the game with nine seconds left in the third OT to give the Cavaliers a 62-61 victory against Marysville. He finished with 21 points.
Chris Still, Center Line, 6-3, Senior >> Was the Panthers’ top offensive threat in many of their games on the way to an 8-6 league record. Scored 17 points in loss to South Lake.
Isaiah Hasan, Clintondale, 5-11, Senior >> Scored 22 points to lead the Dragons to a victory against St. Clair in the district tournament. Playing his first season of organized basketball.
Darrell Heard, South Lake, 6-0, Senior >> Dished out 10 assists to help Cavaliers defeat Lincoln for coach Kurt Wilson’s 200th victory. Had 17 points in victory against Mount Clemens.
Jack Hilt, Lutheran North, 6-4, Junior >> Was a force inside on offense and defense for the Mustangs, but could also hit from outside. Averaged 13.1 points and nearly 8 rebounds per-game.
Cortez Jackson, Lake Shore, 6-1, Junior >> Point guard for MAC Silver champions averaged 9.3 points, 6.1 rebounds, 4.4 assists and 3.7 steals per-game.
Fred Lawson Jr., Armada, 6-4, Senior >> Three-year starter sacrificed some scoring to bring the young team together. Had high games of 19 and 17 points. One of team’s best defenders.
Damon Osley, Michigan Collegiate, 5-7, Senior >> Point guard had 13 points and six assists to spark Cougars’ non-league victory vs. Troy Athens. Had 16 points, 8 assists in district win vs. Lakeview.
Dazmond Lawrence, Warren Woods-Tower, 6-0, Junior >> Impacts defense with his quickness, relentless pressure on the ball and his ability to get deflections. Created transition offense.
Terrance Green, South Lake, 6-2, Senior >> Provided senior leadership and solid defensive work inside to help the Cavaliers to a 17-5 record and second place in MAC Silver.
Isaiah Hasan, Clintondale, 5-11, Senior >> Playing his first season of organized basketball, he picked up the intricacies of playing defense quickly for the Dragons.
Alante Stevens, New Haven, 6-1, Senior >> Played both soccer and football for the Rockets in the fall and he used that athletic ability to be a defensive force for the basketball team.
Steven Mezuk, Center Line, 6-3, Senior >> Provided strong play on the boards and defense down low for the Panthers. Also plays on the school’s soccer and baseball teams.
Robert Anderson, Warren Woods-Tower; Jerry Ben, New Haven; Ken Boling, Center Line; Jordan Davis, Michigan Collegiate; Daevon Duplessis, Mount Clemens; Josh Eldridge, Clintondale; D’Sean Hamilton, Richmond; Cody Lawrence, Merritt; Micah McLain, Parkway Christian; Mitchell Ruczynski, Armada; Andrew Terry, Lincoln; Elijah Thaut, Lutheran North; Delano Williams, Mount Clemens; Wes Wolschleger, Memphis.
AP Class B boys basketball All-State list
The 2016 Associated Press Class B basketball All-State team as selected by a panel of 10 Michigan sportswriters and broadcasters.
Player of the Year
Austin Davis, Onsted, Sr.
Austin Davis, Onsted, Sr.
Mario Whitley, Frankenmuth, So.
James Towns, Detroit Henry Ford, Sr.
Jalen Martin, Harper Woods Chandler Park, Sr.
Terrance Sewell, Detroit Northwestern, Sr.
Riley Lewis, Williamston, Sr.
Tony Poljan, Lansing Catholic, Sr.
Ivan Warren, Flint Southwestern, Sr.
Leon Redd, Wyoming Godwin Heights, Sr.
Romeo Weems, New Haven, Fr.
Matthew Blount, Detroit Northwestern
(Nominees receiving two or more votes from the 10-member panel)
Dylan Carl, Alma, Sr.
Peyton Miller, Birch Run, Sr.
Jacob Brubaker, Marshall
Tevin Taylor, Flint Southwestern, Sr.
Brad Maska, Onsted
(Nominees receiving one or no votes from the 10-member panel)
Trey Newsham, Essexville-Garber; Austin Koin, Standish-Sterling; Charles Garrett, Bridgeport; Ben Davidson, St. Clair; Cody Kegley, Yale; Eric Williams, New Haven; Darian Owens-White, River Rouge; Kylan Shipp, Detroit Northwestern; Dylan Patton, Leslie; Delbert Redfield, Olivet; Keegan George, Spring Lake; Jeremiah Davis, Battle Creek Harper Creek; Steffen Kinne, Battle Creek Pennfield; Adam Reed, Three Rivers; Tirrell Hausmanis, Three Rivers; Tanner Blyly, Three Rivers; Braden Burke, Stevensville-Lakeshore; Martin Petersen, Hillsdale; Zach Nieuwkoop, Wayland; Adam Nolde, Menominee; Ben Stilwell, Ovid-Elsie, Demetri Martin, Big Rapids.
Voting panel: Brian Calloway, Lansing State Journal; David Goricki, The Detroit News; Jason Schmitt, The Oakland Press (Pontiac); Matt Wenzel, MLive-Jackson; Eric Woodyard, MLive-Flint; Corky Emrick, Sturgis Journal; James Cook, Traverse City Record-Eagle; Steve Kaminski, MLive-Grand Rapids; Mark Opfermann, MLive-Muskegon; Nate Schneider, The Morning Sun (Mount Pleasant).
New Haven takes on Detroit Ford in quarterfinal rematch
By George Pohly
@GPohly on Twitter
Innocent Nwoko and Jerry Ben combined to score 12 points in two regional basketball tournament games last week.
That was OK with New Haven coach Tedaro France.
New Haven posted nail-biting victories over Detroit Country Day and Lake Fenton, and the 6-foot-11 Nwoko and 6-9 Ben figured prominently as the Rockets won a Class B boys regional championship for the second consecutive year.
“They’re great kids,” France said. “They lead us off the court. They’re about more than just scoring points.”
Nwoko and Ben attend Austin, a Catholic school that’s about five miles from New Haven High.
They’ve been members of the Rockets’ varsity due to an agreement between the schools that Austin students could play at New Haven as long as Austin didn’t have a team in a particular sport.
Neither Nwoko nor Ben knew much about basketball – soccer was Nwoko’s sport in his native Nigeria – before they enrolled at Austin.
“When they first came here, they could barely dunk a ball,” France said.
Now they are anchors of a defense that has allowed 48.3 points per game while carrying New Haven to league, district and regional championships.
“Defense is our foundation,” France said. “A lot of kids can come into the gym and score points.
“It takes a kid that’s selfless to sacrifice on defense.”
New Haven plays Detroit Henry Ford at Lake Shore at 7 p.m. Tuesday in a state quarterfinal game.
It’ll be the second consecutive year the Rockets will have met the Trojans in the quarterfinals.
While New Haven naturally hopes for a different outcome after losing to Detroit Ford 61-55 in 2015, one element of the Rockets’ defense won’t change: They’ll rely on their towers in the paint.
“If we get beat (on the dribble), we’ve got guys behind that can protect the rim,” France said, referring to Nwoko, Ben and 6-6 freshman Romeo Weems.
“They might not get blocks, but they change so many shots. Sometimes teams think twice about driving to the hole.”
Division I college recruits Nwoko and Ben have helped New Haven compile a two-year record of 47-3, including back-to-back 12-0 finishes in the Macomb Area Conference Gold Division.
The Rockets didn’t win a MAC Gold championship until last season.
New Haven had never won back-to-back regional crowns until the Rockets edged Lake Fenton 53-50 at Imlay City last week.
Central Michigan recruit Nwoko (10.6 points and 10 rebounds per game) and Ben, who will play at Cornell, deserve special places in Rockets history for being part of those achievements, France said.
“It’s not just their progress as players -- it’s the leadership they’ve given us,” France said.
“They both speak boldly and confidently.”
Detroit Ford has won 12 of its last 14 games and is 17-6 overall.
James Towns, a senior guard, leads the Trojans in scoring with 23 points per game.
The winner of the New Haven-Detroit Ford game plays the winner of the Williamston (20-3) versus River Rouge (22-3) quarterfinal at 6 p.m. Friday at the Breslin Center.
The other Class B quarterfinal pairings are Essexville Garber (17-8) against Big Rapids (22-2) and Stevensville Lakeshore (18-7) versus Hudsonville Unity Christian (16-8).
The state championship game starts at 6:30 p.m. Saturday at the Breslin Center.
Detroit Ford lost to Wyoming Godwin Heights 85-68 in the 2015 state championship game.
New Haven has never won a state quarterfinal game.
Joseph Hayes, Times Herald
The Rockets are out to make history.
The New Haven High School boys basketball team finds itself in a very similar position. The Rockets are once again in the Class B state quarterfinal round, one game away from setting school history.
New Haven won its second consecutive regional title this year, but has never advanced past the state quarterfinal round. Last year, they advanced to face Detroit Henry Ford in the quarterfinal round and fell short.
New Haven (22-2) will face Henry Ford (17-6) again on March 22 at St. Clair Shores Lake Shore.
New Haven coach Tedaro France II watches the action from the sidelines during a basketball game Tuesday,
"It's just a blessing to be able to make it back here," New Haven coach Tedaro France said. "We play the same team in the same spot as last year.
"Getting here shows that through hard work, we got right back to where we were. We have never made it past this point in school history. We are looking forward to getting this opportunity."
New Haven advanced by defeating Detroit Country Day, 45-44, in the regional semifinal and Lake Fenton 53-50 in the regional final.
"Eric Williams made big shot after big shot and Alante Stevens made key plays down the stretch," coach France said. "We have a tough team.
The kids step up and make big plays late and it was great to see their growth.
"They made plays down the stretch and that got us over the top."
New Haven will now face a stiff test to establish new school history. Detroit Henry Ford is battle tested. They defeated Detroit Collegiate Prep in the regional semifinals and Detroit Osborn in the finals.
"It's a blessing that we are here and we just have to work harder than we did last year," Stevens said. "We all need to do a great job of taking care of the ball. We know we can trust each other in crunch time."
Taking care of the ball was pivotal in the Rockets loss to Henry Ford last year. New Haven had 36 turnovers and couldn't overcome its own mishaps.
"We were up by seven against them in the third," coach France said. "We didn't take care of the ball. We had 36 turnovers and we still had a chance. If you don't take care of the ball, you won't win.
"They have a great team and one of the best guards in the state. We have to stay in our lane, get out in transition and take care of the ball."
If New Haven is able to advance past Detroit Henry Ford, it will make the 2016 season even more special.
"It's great to get this far because I feel we have worked hard since the offseason to get here," New Haven guard Eric Williams said. "We have to use what we have learned.
"I feel our guard play is much stronger this year. We won't have the same problem with turning over the ball. We have been working hard since the summer and it's a blessing to get here."
By George Pohly
@GPohly on Twitter
IMLAY CITY >>
Eric Williams Jr. helped New Haven make school and Macomb County boys basketball history.
Williams scored 26 points, including two on free throws with 1.1 seconds left in the fourth quarter, to spark the Rockets to a 53-50 victory over Lake Fenton in a Class B regional tournament championship game at Imlay City on Wednesday night.
Freshman Romeo Weems drove for a layup that enabled the Rockets to wipe out the Blue Devils’ only lead of the game and put New Haven ahead 49-48 with 1:16 to go, and Weems and Alante Stevens made a free throw apiece before Williams stepped to the line as New Haven became a back-to-back regional champion for the first time in program history.
“I was nervous,” Williams, a junior guard who transferred to New Haven before the start of this season, said.
“This was my first time being here, and it was a great experience. I didn’t know if we would make it this far, because we had our ups and downs this season. But we played great today.”
New Haven was one of three county regional champions crowned Wednesday.
Dakota and Stevenson won in Class A as the county had three regional champs in the same season for the first time since at least 1951.
“It’s a blessing,” New Haven coach Tedaro France said. “I’m just so proud of the kids, to see how hard they worked and how far they’ve come. We’re still a young team. We still make young mistakes, but one thing they do is play hard.”
New Haven won its fourth regional championship, all since 1990, as the Rockets raised their record to 22-2.
But the Rockets had nervous moments against Lake Fenton, which trailed 38-24 with 5:06 left in the third quarter and then rallied to take a 48-47 lead on Chris Bell’s 3-pointer from the left wing with 1:31 left in the game.
“They have big, strong guards,” France said of the Blue Devils. “They can knock down shots or go by you. They were difficult to guard.”
Jalen Miller led Lake Fenton (21-4) with 19 points. Isaac Golson had 13 and Bell 12 for Lake Fenton, which was seeking its first regional championship in program history.
New Haven plays Detroit Ford at 7 p.m. Tuesday in a quarterfinal game at Lake Shore.
Williams scored 15 points in the first half against Lake Fenton.
“He had a great game for us tonight,” France said of Williams. “He opens it up for us. He makes the defenses stretch out. Teams play us man to man more because he can make shots.”
France was confident with Williams at the free throw line with 1.1 seconds to go.
“I knew it was good,” the coach said.
The Rockets missed two free throws in the final half-minute of the fourth quarter, and they missed 10 for the game.
“It was up to our defense, and we got it done,” Stevens said. “We had some defensive breakdowns that we know we have to fix. It was a good game.”
Lake Fenton was playing in a regional for the first time since 1997, when the Blue Devils were in Class C.
“I’m proud of them,” Blue Devils coach Jack Erway said. “They battled tonight like they did all season. A lot of people didn’t think we’d be here. They put themselves in position to win the basketball game."
Williams and Stevens had six rebounds apiece and Jerry Ben had five rebounds for New Haven.
Weems had 10 rebounds, five assists and two blocks.
Lake Fenton outscored New Haven 7-1 in the final 1:31 of the second quarter and pulled to within 26-24 of the Rockets at halftime.
Williams scored the last of his first-half points when he split a pair of free throws with 16.4 seconds left in the second quarter.
But despite Williams’ 3-pointer with 3:48 left and another basket by the smooth-shooting junior, New Haven could not pull away from the Blue Devils.
Williams scored New Haven’s first four points of the second quarter as the Rockets took a 16-8 lead.
Lake Fenton surged back with the help of a triple by Miller and a basket by Isaac Golson.
New Haven scored the first seven points of the game, just as it did in the regional semifinal against Detroit Country Day.
Williams had a 3-pointer and a 2-point basket to help get the Rockets started, and three different Blue Devils missed two free throws apiece in the first 2:25 of the game.
Lake Fenton got on the scoreboard with a basket by Miller with 3:03 left in the opening quarter.
Innocent Nwoko’s three-point play and Alante Stevens’ steal and drive for a layup closed the scoring in the first quarter, which ended with the Rockets leading 12-2.
New Haven won its first regional championship in 1990. The Rockets also won regional titles in 2012 and 2015.
The Rockets have never won a state quarterfinal game.
Stevenson played Roseville in a Class A regional final at Chippewa Valley, and Dakota played Rochester Adams in a regional championship game on the Cougars’ court.
Macomb County has had two regional champs in a season several times, including 2014 when Warren-Mott won in Class A and Mount Clemens in Class C.
Teams meet in Class B regional championship game
By Adam Rickert
@MIPrepZoneMD on Twitter
New Haven’s boys basketball team barely made it past Country Day in Monday night’s regional semifinal, edging the Yellowjackets by just one point.
Coach Tedaro France says Wednesday’s Ckass B regional final against Lake Fenton, however, could be a different story if his team plays to its full potential.
“We didn’t play very well last night,” France said Tuesday evening. “We didn’t shoot well, especially from the free throw line, and we didn’t make a lot of plays we usually do late in the game.”
The Rockets (21-2) missed a total of 14 free throws in Tuesday night’s 45-44 win, with five misses coming in the first four minutes of the fourth quarter.
Also, New Haven failed to score in the final 3:19 of the game, allowing a five-point lead to be cut to just one rather than widening the gap.
France believes that the scare will wake up the Rockets before Wednesday’s game rather than distract them.
“Our kids are focused,” he said. “The kids are kind of upset about how they played, but we’re not dwelling on our mistakes.”
France also emphasized that there is no time to dwell on mistakes this time of year.
“In March, a win is a win,” he said. “They’re going to come out more ready and focused and they’re going to be coming out to play the way we know how to play.”
France knows that New Haven will need to play at the top of its game in order to knock off another tough opponent in Lake Fenton. The game will be played in Imlay City.
The Blue Devils finished 20-3 this season and the only blemishes on their schedule came in the form of an early-season defeat to Holly and two losses to perennial powerhouse Flint Beecher.
“They’re a tough team and got second place in a tough league right behind Flint Beecher,” France said of Lake Fenton. “They play good defense, they have a couple good scorers and good guards that get to the rim.
“It should be a really solid basketball game and we’re going to have to do some things really well,” he said.
The Rockets are trying to win their second-straight regional title. They made it all the way to the state quarterfinals last year, where they lost, 61-55, to Detroit Henry Ford.
France, however, insisted that his team is focused solely on Wednesday’s game against Lake Fenton before worrying about the quarterfinals.
“We want to win the day by doing the small things right, like consistently boxing out and making free throws,” he said. “If we do that for a complete game we’re going to be okay, but we’ve got to get by Lake Fenton and we can’t even look at the quarterfinals.”
Joseph Hayes, Times Herald
NEW HAVEN The New Haven Rockets weren't at their best Monday.
But when you are one of the best boys basketball teams in the state, you can often find ways to compensate.
For New Haven, that started with their stiffing defense and extended to their mental fortitude, as they held Detroit Country Day at bay for a 45-44 Class B regional semifinal victory at Imlay City High School.
The Rockets won despite struggling down the stretch. But they were able to generate enough stops and key offensive plays to get over the top.
"We struggled from the free throw line and that was key," New Haven coach Tedaro France II said. "We just couldn't score from the line and they would come down and score and we had a big lead and they slowly made shots. But the end result was we got the win. We didn't play well. But we stayed strong and stayed tough.
"We stayed together and stayed strong and we won the game. We have to have a short memory. We have to plan for Lake Fenton and learn but don't dwell.
Lake Fenton meanwhile knocked off Yale in a game that was close for a half and then quickly spiraled out of control into a blowout.
"We have to come in and be mentally ready because Lake Fenton isn't a joke," New Haven junior Eric Williams said after scoring 14 points. "This is my first year making it this far. I'm just excited for the experience. I'm hoping we can keep it going."
Alante Stevens paced the Rockets with 15 points and Romeo Weems added 12 points. Paul Mocur scored 13 to lead Detroit Country Day.
By George Pohly
@GPohly on Twitter
IMLAY CITY >>
New Haven is on the quarterfinal doorstep again – barely.
Alante Stevens scored 15 points and Eric Williams Jr. added 14 as New Haven defeated Detroit Country Day 45-44 in a Class B boys regional basketball semifinal game at Imlay City on Monday night.
Country Day’s Milan Williams drove the lane but tumbled out of bounds under the basket as time expired to enable New Haven to set up a meeting with Lake Fenton for the regional championship.
“We lived to see another day,” New Haven coach Tedaro France said.
Country Day missed a shot from in the paint, but New Haven knocked the ball out of bounds with 4.5 seconds to play, giving the Yellowjackets another opportunity to take the game from the Rockets.
Country Day inbounded the ball to Milan Williams, but the 6-foot-3 senior’s drive into the lane yielded no field goal attempt.
“It’s too bad,” Country Day coach Mark Bray said.
New Haven led 30-15 at halftime and 37-19 midway through the third quarter.
“We didn’t do the things we needed to do in the first half,” Bray said. “We played the first half like they’re better than us. They’re not.
“They beat us, but we didn’t play a full game. We play a full game, and we win. That’s the deal.”
The Rockets (21-2) are trying to win a regional championship for the second time in as many years and the fourth time in program history.
They advanced despite missing 14 free throws, including five in the first four minutes of the fourth quarter.
“Free throws, free throws, free throws -- that was key,” France said. “When you’re missing those, it lets the other team back in the game.
“We shot horrendous from the free throw line. We’ve got to get that fixed.”
New Haven went ahead 45-40 on a basket by ninth-grader Romeo Weems with 3:19 to play, but the Rockets did not score the rest of the night as the Yellowjackets employed a 1-2-2 halfcourt trapping defense.
“We couldn’t score against them,” France said. “I thought we attacked it well, but we didn’t make shots and we didn’t make free throws. We didn’t take care of the ball. We had a lot of turnovers.
“But we still played. I give credit to my guys.”
Paul Mocur led long-time state power Country Day (9-15) with 13 points.
Kolin Demens had nine for the Yellowjackets, who won eight state Class B championships from 1990-2013.
“They’re a well-coached team,” France said of the Yellowjackets. “They took advantage of our missed shots. They got down, but they never quit.
“We were lucky to come out of here with the win. We’re very blessed.”
Junior forward Cole Bearden scored off an offensive rebound and Demens scored on a tip-in as Country Day scored the last four points of the third quarter and pulled to within 41-36 of New Haven, which earlier in the quarter had enjoyed a double-figure lead.
Country Day, which trailed by double digits at halftime into the third quarter, pulled to within 41-32 on Mocur’s 3-pointer from the top of the key with 2:14 left in the third.
New Haven led 37-19 when Williams split two free throws with 4:39 left in the third quarter, but the Yellowjackets rallied to within 39-27 with less than three minutes to play.
The Rockets’ Williams made two 3-point field goals and a pair of technical foul shots as New Haven outscored Country Day 17-7 in the second quarter for a 30-15 halftime lead.
Williams made the second of his second-quarter 3-pointers from the left wing, a favorite shooting spot for the 6-4 junior.
Central Michigan recruit Innocent Nwoko capped the Rockets’ first-half scoring with a dunk.
The Rockets’ Stevens scored the first five points of the game
Lake Fenton (21-3) advanced to the regional final with a 59-40 victory over Yale, a Blue Water Area Conference co-champion. Yale finished 19-5.
LAKE FENTON 59, YALE 40: Jalen Miller scored 16 points and Chris Bell had 14 to lead the Blue Devils in the regional semifinal at Imlay City. Isaac Golson and Andrew Foerster had 10 points apiece for Lake Fenton (21-3). Cody Kegley, who has signed with Northern Michigan, scored 14 points in his final game for Yale (19-5). Kegley had one of Yale’s four 3-pointers in the second quarter and the Bulldogs led by as many as four points, but the teams were tied 29-all at halftime. Lake Fenton then started the second half on a 14-2 run for a 43-31 lead. The Blue Devils stretched their lead to 21 points in the fourth quarter.
Athletic team' faces New Haven in regional semifinal
By Chuck Pleiness
This isn’t your typical Detroit Country Day boys basketball team.But don’t tell that to New Haven coach Tedaro France II.
“They’re a young, athletic team and well coached,” said France, whose team plays the Yellowjackets in a Class B regional semifinal game Monday at 7:30 p.m. at Imlay City. “They have a couple guards and a couple post players.
“Their record doesn’t show how good they are because they play a tough schedule and face a lot of good teams,” France continued. “Right now they’re 3-0 (in the tournament) and this is where you look at each game like it’s your last.”
New Haven (20-2) returns a number of players off a squad that lost in a Class B quarterfinal last season, 61-55 to Detroit Henry Ford.
“At this point you have to take each opponent like they’re good,” France said. “As coaches we’re taking it one game at a time, but as kids we know they can look past teams. We need to keep the kids focused on the now. Every team is good from here on out.”
The Rockets were dealt a heavy dose of reality when they lost to Macomb Area Conference crossover rival Ford near the end of the regular season.
“We came into it like it was just another game,” France said. “It was senior night and Ford came into it like it was their championship game. They kind of smacked us in the mouth. We got exposed.
“It was a great loss because since that game it’s kind of woke us up,” France added. “I think that loss made them learn quickly to play each game like it’s their last game.”
New Haven breezed to a pair of wins, scoring more than 70 points in each and allowing an average of 48 against.
DCD advanced with a narrow win over Michigan Collegiate, 55-51.
“They’re a scrappy team,” France said.
Yale plays Lake Fenton at 6 p.m. in the other semifinal. The regional championship is Wednesday at 7:30 p.m.
By Kevin Lozon
It didn’t take long for New Haven to wrap its hands around its second straight Class B boys basketball district championship trophy.
The Rockets charged out to a 22-14 lead after one quarter, before extending that advantage to 40-26 at halftime, coasting past Clintondale 75-52at Marysville on Friday.
“I knew we had to come out and meet (Clintondale’s) speed and quickness,” New Haven coach Tedaro France II said. “Our kids did a great job. We kept our composure and made plays down the stretch. Our kids played defense, denying their kids a chance to get to the basket.
“I’m just proud of this group,” France added. “We started off as a young group, but our three seniors (Innocent Nwoko, Jerry Ben and Alante Stevens) stepped up this year and led this group. I’m happy for them. This is back-to-back championships for them.”
New Haven used its size and speed to its advantage, especially early on, as Romeo Weems, Eric Williams Jr. and Ben each scored eight points in the first half, while Tavares Oliver added six points.
“We played about as well as we could have,” Clintondale coach Rob Townsend said. “It’s hard to simulate (New Haven’s) speed and their size. There’s no way for us to do that and I think the adjustment caught us. They were a few points better than us each quarter.”
The Rockets put the game away in the third quarter, outscoring the Dragons 16-12 in the period, pushing their edge to 56-38 heading into the final period. Williams scored seven points to lead the charge in the stanza.
“Eric has been playing consistent for us all year,” France said. “I knew he could score, but the best thing is that he’s improved his defense. It’s great to see.”
Williams paced three Rocket players to reach double figures with 22 points, while Romeo Weems added 17 points to go with 10 rebounds, five assists, three blocks and three steals. Nwoko contributed 11 points and 11 rebounds, while Stevens finished with five assists.
“We say we’re just not a team, but we’re a family,” France said. “We had some up and downs, but they stayed strong and I’m proud of them.”
The win improved New Haven’s record to 20-2 overall and moved the Rockets into Monday night’s regional semifinal at Imlay City where they will face Detroit Country Day, which defeated Michigan Collegiate 55-51 in their district title game on Friday night. Game time is set for 7:30 p.m.
“Now we have to say we have to win to play another day,” France said. “It’s one step at a time and one day. We have to keep working hard and play each game like it’s our last, because it may be.”
Clintondale was paced by seniors Jordan Jackson with 16 points, and Isaiah Hasan with 13 points. Townsend said he couldn’t have asked more from these two seniors.
“That’s what you want a senior to do,” Townsend said. “We knew New Haven wasn’t going to let Isaiah go off like he did on Wednesday night (semifinal win over St. Clair), and Jordan is that kind of player. They really showed what a senior can do.”
The loss ended Clintondale’s season at 10-13 overall.
“Our record was deceiving this season because we had seven games where we had a single possession loss,” Townsend said. “The mantra was to improve all year and we really did. We peaked at the right time, but we weren’t quite there tonight.”
Rockets advance to district finals
By Chuck Pleiness
New Haven boys basketball coach Tedaro France II knew a 14-day break between games would hurt his team offensively.
But it didn’t stop the Rockets from doing what they do best … play defense.
“I knew it was going to take some time for our offense so we had to come out and set the tempo on the defensive side of the ball,” France said after his squad’s 70-44 win over Lutheran North in a Class B district semifinal Wednesday. “When you take that many days off, with the way the schedule was this year, we were idle for 14 days which is always tough.
“I want to teach our kids that we can score off our defense,” France continued. “Just keep playing defense and you can stay in games by just being solid there.”
One kid that wasn’t affected by the break offensive was Alante Stevens, who tossed in 11 of his 13 points in a second quarter that saw the Rockets (19-2) pull away from the Mustangs (13-9).
“He’s been doing that the whole year,” France said. “Teams are focused on other players and he has been hurting teams a lot. You kind of have to pick and choose who you’re going to take away. He’s been making shots the whole year.”
Eric Williams Jr. tossed in 16 points to go with five steals and Tavares Oliver added 10.
Jerry Ben grabbed 11 rebounds, while Innocent Nwoko took down 10 rebounds and Romeo Weems finished with 10 rebounds, 10 assists, four blocks and four steals.
“We tried to take away their inside game, which I thought we did well and if you’re going to do that you’re going to give up some outside shots,” Mustangs coach Kevin Murawski said. “We were hoping they wouldn’t make that many and they made them. That’s why they’re predicted to go to the Final Four.
“Where we’ve had success our guards have gotten by defenders, but not many teams have guys that can clean it up in the back like they do,” Murawski continued. “Even when we did get past their defenders it was getting blocked and it was hard to finish. We were off tonight and we knew going in we’d have to play really well to get it. We didn’t play as good as we needed to win and they played better than we thought they would.”
Drew Arft led Lutheran North with 11 points, while Jack Hilt grabbed eight rebounds and Michael Barno took down seven boards. Elijah Thaut totaled four assists.
“This is a high scoring team and they’ve got a couple kids that can play,” France said. “They can shoot the ball so our focus coming in was taking away their clean looks. I think we rotated well.”
New Haven Basketball