IMLAY CITY — Next stop: Ortonville.
Ronald Jeffery III scored 19 points and Romeo Weems 13 to lead New Haven to a 55-38 victory over Pontiac in a Division 2 regional championship basketball game at Imlay City on Thursday night.
The Rockets' 23rd consecutive victory gave them a fifth consecutive regional championship and moved the Macomb Area Conference team moved into a state quarterfinal game against Chandler Park next Tuesday at Ortonville Brandon.
"It's a blessing," said Weems, whose teams did not lose a district or regional game in his four seasons.
Trenell Payne scored seven points and had seven rebounds; Weems took 11 rebounds and blocked seven shots, and Jeffery grabbed seven rebounds for the Rockets (24-1).
"It was a statement game," Jeffery said.
Weems assisted on consecutive baskets, one by Brent Wiles and the other by Jamir Farrior, that gave New Haven a 44-23 lead in the fourth quarter. Later, a drive to the hoop and signature sidestep move by Jeffery led to a basket that put the Rockets ahead 49-30 with 4:37 to play.
The Rockets, who shuffled guards in and out of the lineup throughout the game, went into a delay offense with little more than three minutes left.
Jeffery stole the ball in the backcourt, drove and then left a lob pass off the backboard that Weems slammed for a 51-32 lead with 2:35 left.
Pontiac didn't score its 20th point until there was less than two minutes left in the third quarter.
"They're a load," Pontiac coach Joel Schroeder said of the Rockets. "I thought we handled their fullcourt pressure well, but their halfcourt defense was very good."
Da'Veaun Cole scored 16 points to lead Pontiac (22-3).
The mood in the crowded and hot gymnasium turned testy late in the first half.
Jeffery was given a technical foul for unsportsmanlike conduct with 12.2 seconds left and New Haven leading 24-13. Weems protested to officials, and he had words with Pontiac's Dominique Stovall.
Meanwhile, an official went to the Phoenix bench and said, "Both teams are on notice," just before Pontiac's D'Quarion Cole sank two technical foul shots.
Weems blocked Pontiac's shot on the ensuing possession, sending the ball past the top of the key. Jeffery gathered it in and, a stride or two past midcourt, lofted a shot that banked in at the buzzer for a 3-pointer that gave New Haven its 27-15 halftime lead.
The New Haven bench emptied onto the floor and mobbed Jeffery, and then the Rockets retired to their locker room for halftime.
"That was a big momentum boost," Jeffery said. "Rome got the block and the ball came to me. Soon as I let it go, I knew it was in."
Weems said he could feel the Phoenix and the crowd getting more intense after the technical on Jeffery.
"We just stayed calm and played our game," the Mr. Basketball finalist said.
New Haven was one of three county teams playing in regional finals.
Roseville defeated Anchor Bay in Division 1 on the Tars' court.
New Haven started its 10-game regional winning streak in 2014-15, the season before Weems joined the team.
Four of the Rockets' triumphs came at Imlay City.
New Haven lost its second game of the regular season to Roseville and then went on the winning streak it carried into the regional final.
The Rockets finished 10-0 in the MAC White Division and swept three games, including the final against Roseville, to win the MAC Red/White tournament championship.
In district play, New Haven defeated Lutheran North, Algonac and Blue Water Area Conference champion Richmond on the Rockets' floor.
Weems helped New Haven win the 2017 state Class B championship.
Weems is the unofficial career scoring leader in county history with more than 2,000 points. He’s the only county player who has topped that milestone, according to a list compiled by the Michigan High School Athletic Association.
New Haven went undefeated in Macomb Area Conference division games (42-0), unbeaten in district tournament contests (11-0) and lost only two home games in Weems’ four seasons.
Their cumulative record in Weems’ four seasons -- he missed a handful of games -- is 99-6.
Weems helped the Rockets win a county-record 56 consecutive games during a streak that bridged his sophomore and junior seasons.
They made a second appearance in the state semifinals last year, becoming only the second county team to reach a final four in back-to-back years.
Lake Shore was the first, in 1993 and 1994.