FAYETTEVILLE — The Cary Invasion was undefeated, but the PrimeTime Players from Rock Hill, S.C., proved why they were the defending Tobacco Road Basketball League champions Sunday night.
The Players repeated as TRBL champions this year with a 126-118 win against Cary at the J.D. Fuller Center in Fayetteville.
It was a rematch of last year’s TRBL finals, the last time the two teams had met. Scheduling conflicts prevented the two from meeting in the regular season.
“Obviously they were the favorite,” said Invasion coach Eric Vaughn. “They play a lot of games, 50 to 100 games, throughout the year, so they’ve been together four or five years, and you can tell.”
Cary never led after being up 4-0 early.
“Tonight was a situation where we gave them too much cushion. We were down 22 at the half, but we outplayed them in the second half,” Vaughn said.
“With a team like that, with a great team like that, you can’t make mistakes like we did.
“We beat ourselves, they weren’t beating us. We turned the ball over too much, we missed too many layups. They capitalized on every mistake that we made the entire game.”
Invasion All-Star Freddie Little finished with 33 points and hit several crucial 3-pointers halfway through the third quarter to fuel a fiery Cary comeback.
The Invasion fed off Little’s success, bringing the game within six points before falling back by 11to end to the third quarter.
“We got it down, it was tight, but every time we were right there and cut it four or six, we turned it over,” said Vaughn.
Cary fought fatigue after having played a three-overtime game against the HoopForLyfe team from Concord the night before in the semifinals.
PrimeTime, meanwhile, had cruised to a 33-point win against Big Texas, a team from Jacksonville, N.C.
Superb shooting from PrimeTime’s Chris Moore (25 points) kept the Players ahead in the second half, as Moore answered each of Cary’s points with several of his own.
Both teams played fast-paced basketball throughout the game, but Cary’s numerous turnovers helped the PrimeTime hit critical shots.
“With my guys, not a lot of coaching has to be done. They’ve played together so long,” said PrimeTime coach Chris Thomas.
“We decided to spread the floor and get the big man in the middle and get the big man to get it out. It ended up working out in the second half for us.”
Cary’s Corey Evans, Daniel Jackson and Little were featured in the TRBL All-Star game, also played Sunday.
The Invasion (13-1) are now 35-6 in their three-year history as a minor-league basketball team. They’ve made the league final in every season.
PrimeTime has now won 27 consecutive TRBL games.