By Adam Rickert
@MIPrepZoneMD on Twitter
New Haven’s boys basketball team barely made it past Country Day in Monday night’s regional semifinal, edging the Yellowjackets by just one point.
Coach Tedaro France says Wednesday’s Ckass B regional final against Lake Fenton, however, could be a different story if his team plays to its full potential.
“We didn’t play very well last night,” France said Tuesday evening. “We didn’t shoot well, especially from the free throw line, and we didn’t make a lot of plays we usually do late in the game.”
The Rockets (21-2) missed a total of 14 free throws in Tuesday night’s 45-44 win, with five misses coming in the first four minutes of the fourth quarter.
Also, New Haven failed to score in the final 3:19 of the game, allowing a five-point lead to be cut to just one rather than widening the gap.
France believes that the scare will wake up the Rockets before Wednesday’s game rather than distract them.
“Our kids are focused,” he said. “The kids are kind of upset about how they played, but we’re not dwelling on our mistakes.”
France also emphasized that there is no time to dwell on mistakes this time of year.
“In March, a win is a win,” he said. “They’re going to come out more ready and focused and they’re going to be coming out to play the way we know how to play.”
France knows that New Haven will need to play at the top of its game in order to knock off another tough opponent in Lake Fenton. The game will be played in Imlay City.
The Blue Devils finished 20-3 this season and the only blemishes on their schedule came in the form of an early-season defeat to Holly and two losses to perennial powerhouse Flint Beecher.
“They’re a tough team and got second place in a tough league right behind Flint Beecher,” France said of Lake Fenton. “They play good defense, they have a couple good scorers and good guards that get to the rim.
“It should be a really solid basketball game and we’re going to have to do some things really well,” he said.
The Rockets are trying to win their second-straight regional title. They made it all the way to the state quarterfinals last year, where they lost, 61-55, to Detroit Henry Ford.
France, however, insisted that his team is focused solely on Wednesday’s game against Lake Fenton before worrying about the quarterfinals.
“We want to win the day by doing the small things right, like consistently boxing out and making free throws,” he said. “If we do that for a complete game we’re going to be okay, but we’ve got to get by Lake Fenton and we can’t even look at the quarterfinals.”