All it takes is one quarter to swing a game.
For Detroit Henry Ford, it was the second quarter that paid off with a trip to the Class B semifinals after topping New Haven, 62-40.
After heading into the second quarter trailing just 15-12 the Rockets had a hard time burying their shots, just hitting one field goal all quarter. In return, Ford caught fire and scored 17 points to take a 32-17 lead into halftime, and the game was never brought back to a single-digit deficit the rest of the night.
“It was a game plan, but we just couldn’t score,” New Haven head coach Tedaro France II said. “We missed wide-open shots the whole game and just couldn’t finish plays out.”
The Trojans had four scorers boast double-digit points, led by senior James Towns and his 14 points. Kavon Bey added 13 and Jeremy Crawly added 10, but the most pleasant surprise for Ford was 12 points off the bench from sophomore Deanta Ulmer.
“Just lost for words right now, man” Ulmer said. “I wasn’t expecting to be in this predicament, to help this team win games and advance. It’s unbelievable.”
New Haven was lead by freshman Romeo Weems, who had a game-high 15 points. Junior Eric Williams also chimed in with 13 points for the Rockets.
It wasn’t a start anyone scripted, but not because the Rockets jumped to a 4-2 lead. It’s because the gym’s screeching fire alarm put the game on hold for roughly five minutes while the fans waited patiently in their seats.
From there, the teams traded baskets until Towns converted an and-1 with 57 seconds left in the quarter to make it a 15-10 lead.
That’s when the second quarter began, and the Trojans upped the pressure by forcing two turnovers in the first two minutes. They took their first double-digit lead midway through the quarter on a Towns 3-pointer, grabbing a 27-15 advantage with 3:05 left in the half.
The Trojans kept their foot firmly on the gas pedal as junior Devontaye Webb nailed a 3-pointer to make it a 32-15 lead near the end of the first half.
The third quarter certainly kept the energy on New Haven’s side of the court alive as the Rockets forced five turnovers. That, combined with six points by Williams, cut Ford’s lead to 41-28 heading into the fourth quarter.
“We felt good, we were right there,” France said of his team’s mindset heading into the fourth quarter. “Again, we had looks the whole night, but we just couldn’t get them to go in.”
Ford, who was methodical with the ball by stalling and taking only wide-open shots, shut the door in the fourth. Not many expected it, but Ulmer drained three 3-pointers in the fourth – his most important coming with 4:25 left in the game to make it a 51-32 lead.
From there the Trojan fans started to celebrate, and New Haven closed another regional title-winning season.