Style points mean nothing in March.
Just ask Lutheran North.
Colin Moldenhauer scored 20 points and Cole McClelland 16 Monday to lead Lutheran North to a 54-46 victory that broke New Haven's 15-game district basketball tournament winning streak.
The Mustangs, playing at home in the first round of a Division 2 tournament being hosted by St. Clair, didn't play to the pace they wanted, but the Catholic League team hit enough shots and made enough stops to hold off the Rockets, whose streak of district championships ended at five.
"It's the tournament. These guys have high expectations, and I think they had a lot of butterflies, especially in the first half," Lutheran North coach Jeff DeMasse said of his players. "We came out a little flat in the second half.
"Sometimes you win ugly — and this was one of those.
"We were looking for a lot more up-tempo. They did a good job against us. They did a good job of getting back, but we weren't pushing the ball. We started to push it a little in the second half. When we did, sometimes we made some bad decisions."
Lutheran North improved to 16-3. The Mustangs play Marine City in a semifinal game at St. Clair on Wednesday.
Brent Wiles scored 19 points to lead New Haven (12-9), which lost a district game for the first time since 2014, when the Rockets fell to Oakland Christian.
Tedaro France II, the Rockets' coach, said the game was similar to New Haven's season.
"We played hard, but sometimes not smart, and at times we struggled to score," France said. "We missed a lot of layups, left a lot of points on the court. For the most part, I'm proud of our team. Kids learned. Kids grew. I hope the young guys can see what it takes to be successful.
"We lost to a great team. It was a big test playing them at their place. They have a team of seniors."
New Haven had a recent run of success against the Mustangs, including a victory in the 2019 tournament.
"I knew they wanted us bad," France said.
The loss was New Haven's first in a district opener since 2009.
Lutheran North sewed up the victory with a sequence of developments with less than three minutes to play.
New Haven made consecutive baskets and then the Mustangs, leading 46-39, missed a dunk. New Haven got the ball, but turned it over on a traveling violation, and in turn Lutheran North's David Mueller got free for a layup and a 48-39 lead with 2:11 to play.
McClelland made a free throw and Moldenhauer added two as the Mustangs extended their lead to 51-40.
"It was a rough game," Moldenhauer said. "We didn't play how we wanted to. We wanted to play quicker. We came out slow, but we'll get after it on Wednesday. Our game is speed. And getting layups is our game.
"We have a lot of confidence. We have tough competition in the Catholic League."
Lutheran North led 12-5 after one quarter and 24-18 at halftime.
Marine City had a bye into Wednesday's game. Also Wednesday, St. Clair plays either Richmond or Algonac