MARYSVILLE >> In the end, they felt blessed.
Austin Sherrell and Dmonta Harris won’t get the state basketball championship they coveted, but they wouldn’t trade the experience of playing for a New Haven team that went to a Class B boys quarterfinal game after a perfect regular season.
“I feel blessed,” Sherrell, a 6-foot-6 senior, said after Detroit Henry Ford defeated the Rockets 61-55 at Marysville on Tuesday night.
“I’m so thankful,” Sherrell said. “Even though we lost today, I can say we had the best team. I believe we had the best team. We played hard, but they came out on top.
“I’m not going to say they wanted it more than we did. We played hard.”
Sherrell and Harris transferred to New Haven from Waterford Mott.
Each played one season for the Rockets, who were 25-0 with league, district and regional championships to their credit before the loss to Henry Ford.
“I was thinking state title, state championship,” the 6-4 Harris, who scored 21 points against the Trojans, said. “That didn’t happen, but on the flip side, I never thought 25-0, either.
“There’s still something good about this season. I was really blessed. God has blessed me. I am thankful for the opportunity.”
New Haven led by as many as seven points in the third quarter, but Henry Ford closed the period on a 10-0 run and took a 40-37 lead into the fourth quarter.
The Rockets’ Marquis Perkins created a 50-all tie with a 3-point field goal with about four minutes to play in the game.
But Henry Ford then made seven of eight free throws as the Trojans took control and advanced to a state semifinal game that will be played Friday night at the Breslin Center.
“Our goal was to get to Michigan State,” Sherrell, who had 12 points, said. “We were this close.
“A lot of people say we can’t beat certain teams, but we gave them a run for their money.
“There’s not a better feeling than winning with my friends. I appreciate every little moment.”
Sherrell credited New Haven coach Tedaro France II with changing the outlook of his career.
“At Waterford Mott, I was a center,” Sherrell said. “Now I’m playing guard. Colleges are calling me.
“I believe it was the great coaching. He made me into a better player.”
New Haven set a school record with its 25 victories.
The Rockets won a regional championship for only the third time in school history, and the first time in Class B after capturing two in Class C.
“This will always be home,” Sherrell said. “Even though this is my first year here, this will always be home.”
Henry Ford plays Cadillac at the Breslin Center on Friday.