For a quarter, it was intense back-and-forth action.
By the time the second quarter arrived, however, the New Haven boys basketball team had taken its play up another notch, to a level Port Huron Northern simply couldn't match.
That ultimately led to New Haven outscoring Northern, 33-16 in the second quarter en route to a 76-35 victory in front of a packed crowd at Port Huron Northern High School.
While the crowd showed up in droves to see forward Romeo Weems, it was New Haven guard Tavaras Oliver that stole the show in the Macomb Area Conference tournament game.
Oliver scored 17 second-quarter points for New Haven (17-0), on the way to 22 for the night, to spark his team and help them enter halftime with a 51-16 advantage.
"It's tough," Northern coach Brian Jamison said. "They can overwhelm you. I thought early on we did a good job breaking their pressure. It's tough going 32 minutes without allowing a big stretch against a team like that. We were trying to clog the lane and make drives difficult and hope that a few guys had a cold night. We wanted to keep guys like Romeo away from the basket but the other guys played really well."
Weems finished the night with 19 points, 11 rebounds, seven steals, five assists and three blocks in an overall solid night. Ashton Sherrell also added 19 points for the Rockets.
"We played hard," Weems said. "We trapped them and played defense. Our bench was hype, too. We have to keep working hard and try to get ready for the playoffs."
Tre Kidd led Port Huron Northern (6-11) with a team-high 14 points, which included four 3-pointers. Kofe Kimbrell added eight points for Northern.
With the end of the season in sight, the teams will now move forward with Northern continuing to prepare for the district round and New Haven hoping to win the MAC tournament.
"The kids work hard each and every day," New Haven coach Tedaro France II said. "We don't prepare to win games. We prepare each day to get better and do things the right way. When you do that, you win games. When you build a team that defends and plays the right way, they are fun to watch.
"It's a blessing to see how much support our kids get from fans and how they have people who want to come watch them play. I tell my players all of the time, 'You never know who is watching you. Be a great teammate and show great character all of the time.' I look at not only how well they played, but how well they act. They are humble and they continue to work hard and play great defense."