NEW HAVEN -- They had every reason to dance.
The New Haven boys basketball team celebrated its fourth consecutive regional championship Wednesday with a 92-74 victory over Detroit Country Day.
After the win, the Rockets took to center court for an impromptu dance-off, as they celebrated their 51st consecutive victory and the Class B regional title.
"It's big," New Haven forward Romeo Weems said after recording 21 points, 16 rebounds, 12 assists, 10 steals and seven blocks. "We are happy. We won. This is my third (regional) and our fourth in a row. We just have to keep winning. The ultimate goal is a state championship."
The Rockets (25-0) are now only three wins away from another state championship after their latest triumph over Country Day (17-7). Each team jockeyed for control at the beginning of the game, with New Haven clinging to a 24-22 lead entering the second quarter.
That's when the Rockets began to build momentum and establish a lead. They finished the second quarter on a spurt that gave them a 51-33 advantage entering halftime.
"We knew they are a talented young group," said New Haven senior Tavaras Oliver after scoring 19 points. "They played hard and we had to come out and play our game. We have to execute our practice. When you work hard in practice, it's easier in games."
Country Day began to find a rhythm in the third quarter. It steadily closed the gap and entered the fourth quarter trailing, 72-59. The game continued to tighten there, with Country Day closing within 81-73 with just over two minutes to play.
But after a Country Day rebound, Weems stole the pass and finished at the rim to give New Haven an 83-73 advantage. The play was key to help the Rockets seal the victory.
"I'm just playing hard and trying to make plays for my team," Weems said. "We are in attack mode at all times. They got comfortable. I got the steal and saw an opening and got a bucket."
Ronald Jeffrey III sparked New Haven in the first half with 17 of his team-high 22 points. Ashton Sherrell also added 17 points.
"We execute in practice every day and that's what we did tonight," Sherrell said. "At practice, we put in the work and our coach tells us to come out and play hard and have fun at the same time."
With the win, New Haven advances to face Bridgeport at 7 p.m. Tuesday at Corunna High School.
"It starts out on defense," New Haven coach Tedaro France II said. "Our kids know that's what we do. We defend no
matter how the offense is going and we will have a chance to compete in every game we play.
"You can't teach experience. These boys have been here before and we know when to slow it down, get into a set and get a good shot. They know what to expect and they got the job done."
Contact Joseph Hayes at (810) 989-6268 or at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @Joseph_Hayes11.