Romeo, wherefore art thou?
On the New Haven sidelines, nursing a sore arm.
“Romeo has a sprained elbow, so he’ll be out for a week or so,” said coach Tedaro France II. “A lot of people have asked if we can win without him. Well, we just played two games against two pretty good teams and we won them both.”
The Rockets successfully defended their title in the New Haven Holiday Tournament with a 74-57 victory over a quality team from South Lake Thursday night.
In the semifinal round Wednesday, New Haven defeated Mount Clemens 81-45. Weems, one of the top players not just in Michigan but in the country, did not suit up for either game.
“These guys stepped up and showed that they can play. It is great for our team that we have guys who had been on the bench who have gotten more playing time and have showed they can play. For us to be a championship team, we have to build depth.”
The Rockets are the defending Class B state champions.
Senior guard Tavares Oliver Jr. scored 27 points and had five assists for New Haven. Senior forward Ascaun Johnson finished with 20 points, eight rebounds and three blocks. Ashton Sherrell, another senior forward, scored 16, grabbed seven rebounds, had five assists and six steals.
“We have some kids step up and make plays. Everybody on the team played well, guys like Tavares Oliver and Ashton Sherrell. But other guys like Malen Lewis who might not show up in the stat book, but he did all the little things for us. He proved that sometimes heart is more important than skill. We can work on his skill set, but Malen always plays hard,” said France. “He is usually our eighth man in, but tonight he played a lot of minutes.
“Another kid who has kind of been in my doghouse is Ascaun Johnson. He has the potential to be a great player, and today he showed what he can do. He has the size, length and skill set to do it,” continued the New Haven coach. “He just has to be more consistent, and tonight he was.”
Coach Kurt Wilson has some real talent on his roster, too.
The Cavaliers proved that by whittling away at the 54-40 advantage the host Rockets had after three quarters, and getting to within 57-50 with about five minutes left.
Senior Amier Gilmore, who was plagued by early foul trouble, finished with a team-high 16 points. Junior Lamar Morgan scored 11. Notching six points each were Codee Harris, Emmanuel Spillman and Cameron Stewart.
“Foul trouble hurt us. It wasn’t the officials. We had some very good officials tonight. This was a good game. Kudos to New Haven. They played well and they deserved it. We have some work to do. Like I told the seniors after the game, thank goodness it is not March. Losing in December allows you to go work on things still. Losing in March, well, that is it for the season,” said Wilson.
“But I feel good about our team. We had way too many turnovers (23) tonight. But you know we had fun. We always have fun in this tournament,” continued the South Lake coach.
His Cavaliers have played in the New Haven holiday tournament all five years that Wilson’s been the coach at South Lake. This is his fifth season.
In the consolation game, Michigan Collegiate defeated Mount Clemens, 63-19.