By Duff Tyler
It likely didn’t register on the Richter scale, but the response to New Haven senior D’Monta Harris’s dunk by the home crowd was enough to shake the gym floor.
The two-handed stuff came late in the fourth quarter of the Rockets’ 49-34 win over Warren Woods-Tower. New Haven moved to 9-0 for the season and retained first place in the MAC Gold.
“It’s amazing in front of a packed home crowd to get a slam,” Harris said. “With as hard as team worked, we needed a boost for our team and our fans in the stands.”
It put the finishing touches on a second half run that started midway through the third quarter. Trailing 26-25, the Rockets (4-0 MAC Gold) outscored the Titans 24-6 and held them to just four field goals in the second half.
“Coach always talks about how important defense is to the game,” New Haven senior John Galloway said.
And it was fitting that dunk from Harris came on a steal. He nabbed the ball with 1:20 to play and the New Haven fans knew what was coming.
“It was a great play and like I tell my team it starts on the defensive end and that came off a steal,” New Haven coach Tedaro France said.
Warren Woods-Tower (2-1, 4-3) lead 19-11 after one quarter as the Titans answered the Rockets’ height advantage with 3-pointers from Andrew Zanetti and Darius Jordan.
Along with Charles Frazier, the trio each had five points at the end of the quarter.
But the Titans were outscored the by Rockets 8-4 in the second frame and held a 22-19 lead at halftime.
“We want to play great team defense,” France said. “And that sparks us on offense. Today, we had a slow first half, but in the second half we came out and played great team defense and we held them to 12 points.”
Galloway scored eight of his 10 points in the second half.
Frazier ended up with a team-high 12 points for the Titans, but after scoring a combined 40 points in his last two games, Jordan was held scoreless from the second period on.
“We rushed in the second half and we didn’t get the looks we wanted,” WWT coach Nick Evola said. “Credit to their defense, they did a great job. We just gave up too many offensive rebounds and put-backs. They built a lead and we just couldn’t make our run.”