NEW HAVEN The New Haven Rockets weren't at their best Monday.
But when you are one of the best boys basketball teams in the state, you can often find ways to compensate.
For New Haven, that started with their stiffing defense and extended to their mental fortitude, as they held Detroit Country Day at bay for a 45-44 Class B regional semifinal victory at Imlay City High School.
The Rockets won despite struggling down the stretch. But they were able to generate enough stops and key offensive plays to get over the top.
"We struggled from the free throw line and that was key," New Haven coach Tedaro France II said. "We just couldn't score from the line and they would come down and score and we had a big lead and they slowly made shots. But the end result was we got the win. We didn't play well. But we stayed strong and stayed tough.
"We stayed together and stayed strong and we won the game. We have to have a short memory. We have to plan for Lake Fenton and learn but don't dwell.
Lake Fenton meanwhile knocked off Yale in a game that was close for a half and then quickly spiraled out of control into a blowout.
"We have to come in and be mentally ready because Lake Fenton isn't a joke," New Haven junior Eric Williams said after scoring 14 points. "This is my first year making it this far. I'm just excited for the experience. I'm hoping we can keep it going."
Alante Stevens paced the Rockets with 15 points and Romeo Weems added 12 points. Paul Mocur scored 13 to lead Detroit Country Day.