New Haven puts extra emphasis on the first five minutes of the first and third quarters.
It showed Friday in the Rockets’ 63-49 MAC White basketball victory over visiting Romeo.
Junior Emmanuel Hunter made a 3-point basket to cap a 9-0 start to the game, and Brent Wiles had a pair of baskets during a 10-2 start in the second half as the Rockets squared their season series against the Bulldogs.
Wiles finished with 18 points and Hunter 17 to help New Haven pull into a tie for second place in the division.
“We talk about the first five minutes of the third quarter and the first five minutes of the third quarter,” New Haven coach Tedaro France II said. “Games are won and lost there. So having a great start in the game and having a great start to the second half is key.”
Romeo, down 21-10 after one quarter and 25-14 early in the second, rallied to within two points and trailed by only four, 29-25 at halftime.
But Wiles made a steal and drove for a hoop, Tyree France banked in a 3-pointer and Wiles scored off an offensive rebound as New Haven established to a 39-27 lead.
“That kind of shifted the moment to us,” coach France said. “At the half they had it, and we took it back.”
Keyondre Gamez made two 3-pointers in the final two minutes of the third quarter, and New Haven scored eight of its last 10 points of the game on free throws to keep the Bulldogs at bay.
“When we got back in it, everything came out of a set,” Romeo coach Marvin Cushingberry said. “We’ve got to stay in a situation where we run sets. When we do that, we’re a pretty good ball team because we’re big and we get the ball inside and it’s tough for teams to handle it.
“But once they get the tempo going and put a little pressure on our guards, we got moving and we didn’t get the ball back to the top.”
Cushingberry, like New Haven coach France, thought the opening minutes of the second half were crucial.
“That’s the winning quarter,” Cushingberry said. “New Haven’s young and … they get after it.”
Josh Fowler, a senior guard, led Romeo with nine points. Josh Skelly, a junior guard, added eight. Tim Kewley, a 6-6 freshman forward, contributed seven.
Both teams are 4-3 in the division. So is Ford, which defeated Warren-Mott.
Romeo, New Haven and Ford are looking up at division leader Grosse Pointe South.
Wiles, a junior, had a double-double that included 10 rebounds. He also made five assists.
Hunter contributed five rebounds, two assists and two steals.
Romeo won the teams’ first meeting in overtime.
“We got out-toughed,” coach France said. “We got pushed around.
“We wanted to come out tonight and play with more toughness.”
“I think we came out with better energy against them,” Wiles said. “I think we were more focused than when we played there. We thought we were just going to walk in and win. We came more prepared tonight.”