Playoff basketball hits Cary this weekend.
The Cary Invasion, the town’s fifth-year franchise, will host either the Bull City Legacy or High Point Heat in the Tobacco Road Basketball League quarterfinals on Sunday at 2 p.m. The winner advances to the East divisional title game the following Saturday.
Cary (12-2) won its final playoff tuneup last Saturday, 118-110. The team ended the season in first place of the East division, thanks to a mix of players who have been with the team since the start – like Charles Ward and Paul Wright – and some that came in this year, like Robert Helaire and Corey Evans.
Together, they’ve won seven games by five points or less.
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Evans, the Invasion’s top scorer, thinks the team is in a good place as it enters the postseason, despite an upset loss to the Raleigh Revolt, a team with many former Invasion players, one week ago.
“I think we’re ready,” Evans said. “We got all the kinks out, bad habits out.”
Helaire said the team is getting back to its defensive basics. Scoring has never been a problem for its balanced offense, which can drive into the lane or shoot from the outside.
“Once we do that, we’ll be fine,” Helaire said. “Like you saw (Saturday), we can get down 10 and just come right back and be up 15.”
Ward wants Cary to win the first championship since 2011, when it won the title in its first season. The Invasion has followed with three runner-up finishes.
If Cary can get by the semifinals, Ward wants to see Cary host the title game. Cary owner Doc Thorne said the host team for the final game hasn’t been determined.
“It would make a big difference,” Ward said. “When we played in Charlotte (the last three years), the fan base ain’t really that good. I don’t think they promote it as well. Here, you can do some things leading up to the game. I think the community is invested in it.”
Ward said another game against Bull City would an have electric atmosphere. Bull City and Cary consider each other rivals, despite Cary winning all games against the Durham team.
The two have squared off numerous times in the last two seasons.
“I know people are probably tired of us playing, but they’re going to bring our fans. The gym is going to be rowdy,” Ward said. “We had a good crowd here tonight so hopefully it’ll carry over to the next playoff game.”