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Romeo Weems and his teammates were determined to make amends, and it showed against Anchor Bay.
Weems had 17 points to lead four New Haven players in double figures and the Rockets used a 25-0 burst to end the first quarter on the way to a 75-53 victory over the host Tars in the MAC Blue Division boys basketball opener for both teams Friday night.
Weems scored 11 points in the first quarter as the Rockets, who trailed 5-1 in the early going, outscored Anchor Bay 25-0 in the final 4:54 for a 26-5 lead that sent New Haven to its fourth straight victory since a mid-December loss at Dakota.
“We started off slow, but I think our defense won this game,” senior guard Eric Williams, who had 12 points, said. “We stepped it up.”
All but two of New Haven’s 25 points in the game-turning run came on either a free throw, off an offensive rebound or were set up by an assist as the Rockets moved the ball and crashed the boards against the smaller Tars.
It wasn’t by accident, Weems said.
“A few games ago, we saw on film that we just jacked up shots,” the 6-foot-6 sophomore said. “The coaches didn’t like that. They wanted ball movement, layups, getting to the bucket, getting to the free throw line. We were determined to do that.
“We pressured them. They turned the ball over and we got out and ran.”
Ashton Sherrell had 14 points and Tavares Oliver 11 for New Haven, which improved to 5-1 overall in its first season in the Blue Division.
Justin Schutz led Anchor Bay with 13 points. The Tars outscored New Haven 18-8 in the fourth quarter, but their record fell to 2-5 overall.
“In the second half tonight we played better, our starters against theirs,” Anchor Bay coach Bob Jolet said. “We played with a more aggressive attitude.
“We’ve got to grow from this. Our goal now is to play our best and hopefully get some better results.”
Weems’ basket off an assist from Williams tied the game 5-5 with 4:23 left in the first quarter.
Weems and Sherrell then made consecutive baskets off offensive rebounds, with Sherrell adding a free throw to his bucket.
Later, Weems had two free throws sandwiched around a pair of his passes that set up Williams buckets, and when Weems added another put-back the Rockets were ahead 18-5 and on their way.
“It’s nice to win a league game on the road,” New Haven coach Tedaro France said. “We knew we were going to see some zone, so we knew we were going to have to attack that, and we did. We did some good things.
“We also got good play from our bench. It was nice to see what some of those guys can do. It was good to see the starters encourage those guys to play hard.”
Weems also had seven rebounds and five steals. Sherrell and Williams had six rebounds apiece, and Williams had seven assists and five steals.
The second New Haven-Anchor Bay game of the season will be played at The Palace of Auburn Hills on Jan. 23.