STERLING HEIGHTS, Mich. -- Sometimes, failure is the best teacher.
On Saturday night, New Haven boys basketball coach Tedaro France talked about failure shortly after claiming the program's first Macomb Area Conference Red/White tournament title.
"The kids, sometimes you can't teach things until they see themselves fail first," France said.
The reason why France was talking about failure was because it was a key factor in New Haven's 64-55 win over Roseville in the MAC Red/White title game.
The two teams met in early December for the second game of the season and Roseville (15-3) came away with a 65-60 win. It was the first regular season loss for New Haven (18-1) since Dec. 16, 2016.
"A loss can teach you so much because we have won so much over the last five years," France said.
Of course, a loss can give a team extra motivation in search of revenge. All New Haven senior wing Romeo Weems wanted was to right the only wrong on the Rockets' record this season.
"I just felt like we had to come out here tonight and show them who we really were," Weems said. "We just didn't play around. I took this game serious because this was the only team that beat us at home ... I took this game personal and serious. I wanted to come out and win and we did."
Weems finished with a double-double, recording 19 points and 17 rebounds while also adding 5 assists, 3 blocks and 3 steals in front of a capacity gym at Sterling Heights Stevenson High School.
"I feel like we've got a chance to win (a state championship)," Weems said. "We keep playing hard, keep working, getting better every day, keep playing like we did tonight ... we're going to do it."
Roseville would not go down easy
The game was tied four separate times in the first quarter with New Haven only grabbing a 13-12 lead after one quarter. New Haven was able to build a 23-14 lead with 3:45 left in the half before Roseville senior Darien Banks spearheaded a big run to close the gap to 27-26 with 16 seconds left.
Although New Haven got another basket from senior Ronald Jeffery III before the half for a 29-26 lead, Roseville tied the game at 29-29 on the first shot of the second half when Lazell Judge hit a 3-point shot.
New Haven would not earn at least a nine-point lead again until it took a 50-39 lead on an 8-3 run in the fourth quarter. Roseville trailed by 12 points with 2:21 left after a Weems dunk but managed to close the gap to 58-51 with 44 seconds remaining. However, with no more timeouts left, New Haven pulled away with free-throw shooting to close the game.
"That's 100 percent credit to our guys," Roseville coach Hassan Nizam said. "I tell them all the time -- the first time we played them (and) the second time -- you go (back) four or five-straight years, everybody in the county has rolled over to them. Every time you look at a box score, it's New Haven by 30, New Haven by 40 if it's a MAC game ... Our kids fought to the buzzer, man. You can't ask for more than that. They kept fighting."
Roseville was led by 22 points from Banks. Battling New Haven's press all game, no one else reached double-figures scoring for the Panthers.
"I think they amped up the pressure on us a bit more today than they did the first time," Nizam said. "We kind of expected it because of what they'v been doing. I thought we did not a good job against their pressure and it kind of just took us out of our flow. If we could take it back, I think that's one thing we'd want to do a better job of just handling that full-court man with Romeo on the ball."
New Haven's unsung heroes
When Jeffery went to the bench after recording his fourth foul with still over five minutes to play, senior guard Darius Brooks came off the bench in his place and had a couple of quality minutes. He had a steal, forced another turnover and also drew a foul to split a pair of free-throws.
"Brooks made two great plays late," France said. "Two great hustle plays. That kid, man, he's a special kid. We're so deep at guard, this is probably my most deep team I've had here in years. To bring in a player like that and give us a great spark, it's good to have."
New Haven's 6-foot-4 senior forward Malen Lewis also had a solid game in the paint, despite scoring only 6 points. After Roseville cut New Haven's lead to 38-34 in the third quarter, Lewis came up with a bucket near the basket just 20 seconds later to give the Rockets more breathing room. Roseville never got any closer.
"He played hard," Weems said. "He rebounded, boxed out, did the lttle stuff. He did his thing."
- Jeffery led the Rockets with 26 points while also adding 10 rebounds and 6 steals.
- New Haven struggled from the free-throw line most of the game, shooting 8-for-18 before finishing the final 1:32 of the game with a 9-for-10 stretch.
- New Haven shot 23-for-51 from the field in the game, shooting 13-for-29 in the first half and 10-for-22 in the second half.
- Judge finished with 9 points while junior Martell Turner also added 9 points.
- Roseville shot 19-for-51 from the field in the game, going 8-for-23 from the field in the first half and 11-for-28 in the second.
1st quarter: New Haven 13, Roseville 12The first quarter proved to be an entertaining one as both teams came out with a lot of defensive pressure. Although both teams were trying to find a rhythm offensively, they also went blow for blow against each other.
The game was tied at 2-2, 4-4, 8-8 and 10-10 in the quarter. The difference at the break was a 3-point shot by New Haven senior Ronald Jeffery III, which gave the Rockets a 13-10 lead before Roseville junior Martell scored with five seconds left to make it 13-12.
2nd quarter: New Haven 29, Roseville 26New Haven expanded its lead to 23-14 with 3:45 until halftime before Roseville began to chip away, going on a 12-4 run in the next three and a half minutes to cut the Rockets' lead to 27-26. The run was highlighted by seven points from Roseville senior Darien Banks.
However, Jeffery came up with a layup for New Haven with nine seconds left in the quarter to give the Rockets a 29-26 lead at the break.
3rd quarter: New Haven 42, Roseville 36Roseville tied the game at 29-29 on the first shot of the second half as senior Lazell Judge drained a 3-point shot. However, Roseville would only score one more basket for nearly five minutes as New Haven went on a 9-0 run, taking a 38-29 lead.
Roseville stopped the New Haven run with another 3-point shot with 2:43 left in the quarter, this time from Banks.
4th quarter: New Haven 64, Roseville 55Entering the final quarter with a six-point lead, New Haven quickly expanded on it as the Rockets put together an 8-3 run in the first three minutes to take a 50-39 lead.
Although Jeffery went to the bench with four fouls with over five minutes left, New Haven kept Roseville from taking advantage, forcing missed shots and turnovers.
With 2:21 left in the quarter, Romeo Weems slammed home a two-handed dunk to make it 55-43. It would be the last basket from the field for New Haven as the Rockets pulled away by going 9-for-10 from the free-throw line to close the game.