The game was falling apart for Detroit Henry Ford in the third quarter.
Coach Ken Flowers received a technical with 4:03 to go in the third quarter and New Haven on its way to a 37-30 lead.
“The guys came to the bench and said we weren’t giving up,” said Henry Ford senior shooting guard Josh Davis. “It was a bad time for coach to get a technical, but we kept playing.”
Instead of folding, the Trojans scored the last 10 points of the third to lead by three.
Tied at 50, Davis made two free throws and sub Jeremy Crawley converted an acrobatic lay-up amongst the trees to make it 54-50. A couple of forced turnovers later, and the Trojans were on their way to the Breslin Center with a 61-55 victory before a packed house in a Class B quarterfinal at Marysville High School.
“The referee thought I was trying to show him up, but it was a traveling call,” explained Flowers. “It was kind of quick on his end. When Josh came out with his fourth foul, the team came to the sideline and said they weren’t going to quit.”
Davis led Henry Ford (20-5) with 20 points and junior point guard James Towns added 14. Senior Dmonta Harris led the Rockets with 21 points. Ford got a huge lift off the bench from Jamal Edwards with two triples among 10 points.
Ford will play Cadillac Friday at 7:50 p.m.
“We were 6-15 our seniors’ freshman year, then we went from there until now,” said Flowers.
The Rockets (25-1) pulled to within two, 57-55, with 1:36 left on a triple by Harris, but got no closer.
“It has been a great year for my team,” said New Haven coach Tedaro France II. “Ford got down and didn’t quit. I wish them the best of luck. It was a tough game. We gave up some offensive put-backs and wide-open shots; things we knew we couldn’t do. We had some small breakdowns and they took advantage of those breakdowns. That’s what good teams do.”
New Haven had caught playoff fever. The school sold 500 tickets in one hour, then had to go get 300 more for this quarterfinal showdown in front of a standing-room only crowd.
Both teams loved to run and the fast-paced action was only halted by foul calls. Both teams had at least one player with two fouls by the end of the first quarter.
Tied at 16 going into the second quarter, the Trojans’ defense started getting the better of the Rockets guards.
Despite six turnovers in the second quarter and some shaky guard play, the Rockets still managed to take a 27-26 halftime lead thanks to six points from Austin Sherrell (12 points) and six missed free throws by the Trojans.