They were simply too big, too quick and too fast.
There wasn't much the Port Huron High School boys basketball team could do to try to slow New Haven down on Tuesday at Port Huron High School. But that didn't stop the Big Reds from trying everything.
On defense, the Big Reds trapped and pressed the Rockets and also worked in zone. On offense Port Huron tried to push the ball and also attempted to slow the game down with ball control. But despite the different strategies, nothing seemed to work and New Haven blew past Port Huron, 65-50.
"Turnovers killed us," Port Huron senior Jon Miller said after scoring nine points. "Once they put some pressure on us it opened up the lead and we turned the ball over more and it wasn't good for us."
Tyler Lee had 11 points to lead Port Huron and Damion Farrior each scored nine. Eric Williams led New Haven with a game-high 22 points and Innocent Nwoko added 11 points for the Rockets (3-1).
Port Huron got off to a fast start in the Macomb Area Conference crossover and led 10-6 midway through the first quarter. But that would be the high point of the game for the Big Reds. After losing the lead shortly thereafter, they would trail the Rockets the rest of the way.
New Haven went on a 7-0 run to take a 19-12 lead into the second quarter.
"Early on, we didn't feel like we were playing well defensively," New Haven coach Tedaro France II said. "They scored their first 10 points on layups. I had to call timeout and let them know that we have to play defense. Sometimes the kids want to score, score and score but they forget they can score off of our defensive pressure."
Port Huron responded early in the quarter and went on a 5-0 run to pull within 21-18.
But the narrow lead just seemed to wake New Haven up. They picked right back up where they left off and pressured Port Huron into turnovers. That allowed the Rockets to lead 28-20 at halftime.
Williams opened the second half with a 3-pointer for the Rockets, to give New Haven a 31-20 lead. The Rockets continued to pressure the Big Reds and Port Huron began to become undone. The New Haven pressure led to several Port Huron turnovers and that only helped the Rockets get out in transition for more easy baskets.
"We picked up the pressure after we got chewed out at the half," Williams said. "We need to not try to steal the ball as much. We just had to play defense and not give them the baseline."
By the time the third quarter concluded, the damage had already been done and New Haven led Port Huron 50-28. The Big Reds never pulled within striking distance in the fourth quarter, despite New Haven pulling its starters. But the Big Reds were able to pull closer to end the game on a high note.
"Our gameplan was we can't allow them to get in the open floor and use their athleticism and that's what turnovers do," Port Huron coach Tony Giancarlo said. "The kids in spurts tonight did things well. It's a learning process and we are trying to build. We go through spurts that we do things right. We have to play through adversity and fight. At the end I thought we finished well."
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