NEW HAVEN - They put on a show.
The New Haven boys basketball team is quickly proving itself to be the best entertainment value in town. At the New Haven Basketball Tournament on Thursday, the Rockets broke open the game early in the second half and then sealed it with several high-flying, spectacular dunks along the way.
By the time the onslaught had concluded, New Haven earned a 79-50 victory over Michigan Collegiate.
"I feel like when we sit down on defense and pressure, we get our offense going," New Haven sophomore Romeo Weems said after recording a triple-double with 25 points, 15 rebounds, 10 assists, four blocks and four steals.
"We got our offense in transition and we started knocking down shots on offense. We play better as a team.When you are unselfish and you play together, you have fun and you can really get going."
New Haven (5-1) led Michigan Collegiate 31-23 with under a minute remaining in the first half. But the Rockets finished the half on a flurry to take a 37-25 lead into halftime. Then in the second half, New Haven got off to a torrid run to take full control of the momentum.
All told, New Haven went on a 30-8 run.
"I think sometimes we start too slow," New Haven senior forward Eric Williams said after scoring 15 points to go along with seven rebounds. "But we picked it up. We knew it was a championship game and we had to get it done.
"I think this year we are more unselfish. It expands everything for us in what we can do."
Antonio Simely scored a team-high 18 points for Michigan Collegiate (5-1).
"Our guys succumbed to turnovers," Michigan Collegiate coach Anthony Tolbert said. "Our whole thing coming into the game was take care of the ball, take care of the ball. Don't shorten the court. Don't make it easier for them. And when the turnovers started to rack up it was a hard mountain to overcome.
"It was like the faucet turned on and you can't turn it off. As you can see, you turn the ball over and they make you pay."
For New Haven, the victory was yet another step in the right direction as it focuses on preparing for league play and ultimately a state title run.
"Like I tell my team, we might have an off-night shooting the ball, but we should never have an off night playing defense," New Haven coach Tedaro France II said. "What we do starts from there. Our first drill of the year starts with defense. Kids know that if you want to play here, you have to defend.
"We can turn our defense into offense and steals and transition points. Now the kids are starting to understand we can score in so many ways and create points off our defense."
Contact Joseph Hayes at (810) 989-6268 or at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @Joseph_Hayes11.