By George Pohly
@GPohly on Twitter
The Rockets rose against the Phoenix.
Sophomore Romeo Weems scored 18 points and junior Ashton Sherrell had 16 to lead New Haven to its 14th consecutive victory, a 78-48 boys non-league basketball triumph over visiting Detroit Renaissance on Friday night.
Eric Williams Jr. added 14 points and Tavares Oliver Jr. 12 as the MAC Blue Division-champion Rockets, who are ranked No. 3 in The Associated Press state Class B poll, overwhelmed the Phoenix and raised their record to 15-1.
“This was kind of a personal game for me,” Weems said. “They have some kids in my grade who are highly ranked, among the best in the state. I just had to go at ‘em.
“We did the little things and went on a run.”
Weems said the Rockets are in several ways better now than they were in December.
“We’re a lot more disciplined,” the 6-foot-6 swingman said. “We’re in better shape. We’ve got better team chemistry. Everybody is getting better.”
Sophomore Carrington McCaskill scored 12 points to lead Renaissance (6-10). Senior Cinque Harris added 11.
Weems also had 16 rebounds, 10 assists and four steals. Sherrell took 10 rebounds. Williams had seven rebounds and five blocked shots.
Renaissance was a good opponent for the Rockets to measure their progress, New Haven coach Tedaro France said.
“They’re athletic, they’re tall and they are long,” France said. “It was a great test for us defensively, to see if we could defend a team that is quicker and longer. We did a great job of dictating tempo.”
New Haven outscored Renaissance 26-8 in the third quarter to take a 61-32 lead into the final stanza.
A.J. Crawford’s layup gave New Haven 45-27 lead midway through the third quarter, and the Rockets were up by 20, 49-29, after Sherrell dunked with two and a half minutes left in the period.
Weems, who has received scholarship offers from Michigan State and Ohio State, turned Williams’ lob into a dunk for a 51-29 lead with 2:10 to go.
New Haven led 14-10 after one quarter and then started to pull away from the Phoenix in the second.
Oliver’s triple put New Haven ahead 23-12, and one of Weems’ several crowd-pleasing plays, a dunk off an offensive rebound, gave the Rockets a 33-23 lead with less than two minutes left in the first half.
Renaissance was an 11th-hour replacement for Detroit Cornerstone on the New Haven schedule.
The Rockets and Cornerstone could not agree on a playing date, New Haven athletic director Jammie Kincaid said.
New Haven begins play in the MAC Blue-Gold tournament next Friday.
The Rockets have not lost since a December defeat at Dakota, the eventual MAC Red champion.
Wyoming Godwin Heights and River Rouge are ranked ahead of New Haven in the AP poll.