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Against a team like New Haven, if you take a minute off you’re going to have 10 points scored on you.
At least 10 points, just ask Notre Dame Prep coach Whitney Robinson.
“I don’t know what the exact run was, but we came out and dropped our guard,” Robinson said. “We dropped our guard for just a minute and they went on a run. They went on a run.”
The Rockets’ run was 27-4 and it went from the end of the second quarter until early in the third and it propelled New Haven to a 71-42 win over the Fighting Irish to capture a Class B boys basketball regional championship on Wednesday night at North Branch.
“It’s a game of runs,” said New Haven coach Tedaro France II, who has led the Rockets to three consecutive regional titles. “The whole year we’ve been able to go on good runs and we want to limit teams' runs too.”
New Haven’s run to end the first half was 15-2.
It was a 12-2 outburst that greeted NDP (15-10) in the second half.
“We always want to come out and win the first three minutes of every half,” France II said. “Games can be won right there so we want to have a great start. The kids came out focused and it led to a great start and it carried over for the rest of the game.”
Eric Williams Jr. finished with a double-double – 26 points, 10 rebounds – for New Haven (24-1). He also had five steals and four assists.
“Once we started to contain Tariq (Derrickson) we went on our run,” Williams Jr. said. “That helped up carry momentum into the second half and that was it from there.”
Williams Jr. had 10 of those 27 points in that run.
“We could have defended better, but we picked it up from that surge to end the half and kept it going to start the third,” Williams Jr. said. “The first five minutes of the third took care of it.”
Romeo Weems followed with 15 points, eight boards and five assists, while AJ Crawford III tossed in 12 points. Ashton Sherrell added seven points.
“They work hard and play hard and that’s why they’re in the position that they’re in,” Robinson said. “We didn’t need to play perfect, but needed to make those shots that we usually make. We missed a few. Credit them. Those were shots we’ve been making all year long, but they had a guy always coming at us and they had to alter shots a little bit.
“They’re long and athletic,” Robinson continued. “Need to play near perfect, but if we make shots we typically make it’s a little closer, but they were better than us in every facet of the game than us and that’s why the score was the way it was.”
The Fighting Irish got 22 points from Derrickson and 10 out of Kyle Sassack. Nicholas Dueweke chipped in six.
“The stage was really big for us,” Robinson said. “This was the first time we’ve made it to the regional finals in the 20 years. We were a little shell-shocked just by their speed and athleticism.”
The Rockets, who won their first regional title in 1990 and also captured one in 2012, will meet the Detroit Osborn (16-9) in a state quarterfinal Tuesday at Marysville.