A.J. Crawford III is at his best when he’s not thinking about the game and just going out there and having fun.
That’s just what the New Haven senior did at Macomb Community College.
Crawford tossed in a game-high 25 points to lead his squad to a 108-92 win at the annual Macomb County All-Star boys basketball game at Macomb Community College.
“Just don’t think about it,” Crawford said after the game. “It’s just repetition and muscle memory. Just shoot the ball and have fun. Don’t think about too much or worry too much. Just go out there and have fun.”
Crawford was perfect from behind the 3-point arc, going 5-for-5.
“An all-star game is perfect for that, just let it loose,” Crawford said.
Zach Palmer (Romeo) and Jordan Robbins (Romeo) each finished with 18 points for the winning squad, while Danny Longo (L’Anse Creuse North) totaled 10. Joe Dibella (Center Line) and Aaron Springfield (East Detroit) each had nine points.
Jahi Hison (Stevenson) led the losing squad with 24 points, while Jauron Vicks (Warren Woods-Tower) followed with 18 and Shawn Kama (Sterling Heights) came in with 11. Ryan Anderson (De La Salle) had nine points.
Crawford was the point guard on the Rockets’ Class B state championship team this past season.
“I’m probably not going to understand everything fully until a couple of years from now,” said Crawford, who played his first three seasons at Cousino. “It was a great feeling though.”
New Haven, which beat Ludington 45-36 in the title game, became just the second team from Macomb County to win a boys basketball state championship.
Lake Shore’s 1994 Class B championship had been the only boys crown won by a county team.
New Haven was the fourth county team to play in a final. South Lake (1931) and Eastland (1949) were the other two along with the Shorians.
The win was the Rockets’ 26th in a row. Their only loss was to Dakota.
New Haven had been knocked out in the quarterfinals four other times prior.
“It was great to see all the excitement and happiness from the fans,” said Crawford, who will be playing basketball next season at Spring Arbor University. “They’ve had some great teams here that just couldn’t get to this point. We were playing for something much bigger than just us. We were playing for the whole village.”
New Haven has also won three boys track and field titles in Class C – 1994, 1995 and 1996.
The other team state title came in boys bowling in Division 3 was in 2007.
While Crawford was part of a very successful squad, Springfield has had to endure a trying four seasons at East Detroit.
“Playing in this game just means a lot,” Springfield said. “My skills are getting recognized. It was fun to just be out here and competing.”
The Shamrocks are a combined 7-73 over the past four seasons.
“A lot of my teammates weren’t that dedicated,” Springfield said. “You need to put in the work every day. You need to want to get better each and every day to improve your game. It was tough.”
Springfield is looking forward to playing next season at MCC.
“It’s going to be better for me because I’m going to be competing for a spot on this team,” Springfield said. “We’re all going to be competing, kicking it in the classroom and having a good time.”