GROSSE POINTE WOODS >>
Romeo Weems scored a game-high 37 points and three teammates scored in double digits to lead New Haven to an 89-54 win over Lake Shore in the MAC Blue/Gold boys basketball tournament championship game Saturday.
From the opening tipoff, the undefeated Rockets electrified the large crowd at Grosse Pointe North with an array of alley-oop dunks and long-distance 3-pointers. And that was just in the first quarter.
The MAC Blue champion Rockets dashed out to a 40-14 lead in the opening eight minutes and never looked back.
Weems, a junior small forward, was highly efficient in three quarters of action, and scored 32 points in the first half as the Rockets cruised to a 67-32 lead at intermission.
Coach Tedaro France II, in his 10th season at the helm in New Haven, credits the team success to the players’ ability to continuously run the floor with exceptionally high revving motors.
“Our defense flies around and the one thing that’s good for us is that we’re in good shape,” France said. “Sometimes we come out in the first half and it’s back and forth with an opponent, but we sustain that type of tempo for the whole game.”
Led by Weems, New Haven’s defense and rebounding at both ends bottled up MAC Gold member Lake Shore throughout Saturday’s championship. Caleb Bates was the lone Shorians player who had any success against the Rockets’ smothering style. The junior post player finished with 25 points on three triples and 6 for 6 from the free-throw line.
Weems was simply unstoppable, which is something France has grown accustomed to over the past three years with back-to-back MAC tournament titles.
“He demands the best from himself, so that carries over to his teammates,” France said. “But the most improvement that I see now in him is his jump shot and his ball skills. He’s always played hard and he’s always been a great defender, but now he can step out and shoot a 3-pointer consistently. That makes him so much more dangerous.”
Senior guard Tavares Oliver Jr. led the Rockets from behind the arc, finishing with 17 points with five triples. Weems made four 3-point shots. Senior Ashton Sherrell scored 16 points and junior Ronald Jeffery III added 14 points for New Haven (19-0), which has won 45 consecutive games.
“If we come to work each day and do the small things right the wins will come,” France said. “We have a saying on the back of our shirts that says, ‘Win the Day’. It doesn’t matter if we’re in the weight room, in the film room, we want to get better brick by brick each day.”