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Rockets ride 27-4 start to MAC Blue win
Seeing was believing for L’Anse Creuse.
The Lancers could have moved into a tie for first place, but A.J. Crawford scored nine points and Tavares Oliver Jr. eight as New Haven started the game on a 27-4 run, and the host Rockets rolled to an 80-35 MAC Blue Division boys basketball victory Friday night.
Romeo Weems finished with 19 points, and Crawford and Eric Williams Jr. had 16 apiece for New Haven, which started the second half on a 25-5 spree that featured three dunks by Weems, a 6-foot-6 sophomore.
“Those guys are athletic, and they showed that right off the jump, in the first three, four minutes of the game,” L’Anse Creuse coach George Woods said of the Rockets. “They got out on us. We scouted them, but you can scout them all day long; if you don’t execute, it doesn’t matter.
“We have to take this game and use it to prepare for another game. I told the guys the whole game that we can’t focus on the score; we need to focus on our execution and build on that.
“I hope they learned that they played a good team. New Haven has had a top program for a few years now. This gave (L’Anse Creuse players) an idea of what our expectations are as coaches, what we dream about.”
Jaylen Blackwell and Da’Vion Moore scored nine points apiece for L’Anse Creuse.
New Haven improved to 5-0 in the division and 9-1 overall. The Lancers, who are second in the Blue, are 3-2 and 5-5.
Williams said defense ignited the Rockets.
“We ran our 2-2-1 press the best at the beginning, and that’s what got us going,” the senior guard said. “We don’t want them to get the ball in the middle, and we want to trap on the sidelines.”
In New Haven’s game-opening rush, Crawford scored off an assist by Weems for a 4-0 lead; Oliver had two 3-point baskets; Weems scored off an inbounds pass from Williams; Crawford converted a steal into a basket; Weems threw down a one-handed dunk, and Weems took a defensive rebound, dribbled into the forecourt and then fed a pass to Oliver for another bucket.
“We locked down on defense,” Crawford said. “Defense is our No. 1 priority. We’ve got such an athletic team, and we put a lot of pride in our defense.”
Williams had three steals, and Weems had five assists.
“Coaches gave us a talk about how it’s not who we play, it's how we play,” Weems said. “We came out and played like a state championship-caliber team. We just played our game.”
Weems had three dunks in little more than a minute midway through the third quarter.
The first came off Williams’ lob pass from the top of the key.
“It was a set play,” Weems said. “We have great chemistry. He throws me a lot of lobs in open gym and practice.”
New Haven plays Anchor Bay at 3 p.m. Monday at The Palace of Auburn Hills.
L’Anse Creuse plays host to Fitzgerald on Monday.