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A team with a strong post player and three "really good" guards stands between New Haven and boys basketball history.
Detroit Osborn will provide the opposition at 7 p.m. Tuesday at Marysville when the Rockets try for a third consecutive year to win a state Class B quarterfinal game.
The Knights of the Detroit Public School League feature senior post player Kenneth Holloway, who has led Osborn to 16-9 record with district and regional championships.
“Those losses can be deceiving,” New Haven coach Tedaro France II said Monday. “They’ve won some big games, and they’ve had some tough losses.
“Records don’t matter. It’s March. You’ve got to play the game.”
Losses to Detroit Henry Ford the last two years dropped New Haven to 0-4 all-time in quarterfinal games.
This time, the Rockets seek to clear the quarterfinal hurdle with a team that has posted a 24-1 record and is carrying a 23-game winning streak.
“We are experienced, smart and we’ve got a great group of guys to lead us where we need to get,” 6-foot-5 senior guard Eric Williams said. “If we defend and execute what we’ve practiced, we’ll be fine.”
New Haven defeated Osborn 68-66 in overtime in a regional final at Yale two years ago.
Holloway was a 10th-grader on that team.
“The offense goes through him,” France said. “He’s a tough player. He’s got a good mid-range game.
“They also have three really good guards.
Armonee Felder, one of the Knights’ standout guards, averages 24 points per game.
The brother of former Oakland University star and current Cleveland Cavalier Kay Felder, Armonee was suspended for two games, including the Knights’ district opener against South Lake, for punching a Detroit Cornerstone player late in the regular season.
Felder and Holloway scored 21 points apiece in Osborn’s 67-64 victory over Detroit Collegiate Prep in a regional final last week.
“It’s a tough team,” France said. “They’re scrappy and quick. They press and trap. We’ve got to take care of the ball.
“We’ve got to contain the guards and contain Ken.”
With a front line that includes 6-7 junior Ashton Sherrell and 6-6 sophomore Romeo Weems, New Haven has a height advantage, France said.
“I think we can attack them inside,” France said.
New Haven lost its first quarterfinal game in 1990. The Rockets also bowed in a quarterfinal in 2012 before the consecutive defeats to Detroit Ford.
On Sunday, when the Rockets took a team picture that would be used in the state finals program if New Haven gets that far, France had a message for his players.
“We’ve been knocking on the door,” France told the Rockets. “Let’s just kick the door down. Let’s break through this game.”
Doors open at Marysville at 6 p.m.
The Osborn-New Haven winner plays either Benton Harbor or Spring Lake in a state semifinal game at 6 p.m. Friday at the Breslin Center.