If you want to see coach Fred Whitaker clear a room real fast this summer, just mention two words: Cary Invasion.
The Bull City Legacy, advancing to the playoffs in their first season in the Tobacco Road Basketball League, lost in the first round to the Invasion 118-103.
It was their second straight loss and fourth to Cary this season.
“It’s gotten to be a mental thing,” Whitaker said. “We can’t seem to match their intensity. They have played together longer and are more structured. We hadn’t practiced in two weeks and were a little rusty, but that’s no excuse.”
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How heated has the series become? Whitaker has already circled the date of the first meeting next season: Nov. 1.
Bull City (7-6) finished the season second in the TRBL East behind Cary.
“We play tough together,” former N.C. Central center Raheem Oshodi said. “We have the same group of guys since the beginning. We’re also friends off the court, we hang out together.”
But, as in their previous meeting, the Legacy had no answer in the playoffs for Cary guard Paul Wright, who torched them for 36 points – 25 in the first half. Wright led four players in double figures.
Despite Wright’s 12 first-quarter points, the game was tied at 23 after one quarter.
The Legacy took a three-point lead in the second period, but the Invasion rallied to take a 51-46 halftime lead.
Cary began to exert its dominance in the third, building a double-digit lead behind balanced scoring – not all from from players named Wright.
The Legacy had a few weapons of their own, including Corey Evans who averaged 30 points per game this year. Evans scored 11 of his 33 points in the third to help pull Bull City to within five, but that’s as close as the team would get.
“Their toughness is what I want for us,” Whitaker said. “We can’t let other teams do whatever they want. They own us right now.”
Cary ready for Prime Time?
Cary (12-3), which won the TRBL East Division, faces their own bête noire this weekend when they travel to Fort Mill, S.C., to meet the Prime Time Players (12-2) in the championship game at 6 p.m. Saturday.
It will mark the third straight year that Cary and Prime Time meet in the Tobacco Road championship final.
Prime Time won both of the previous championship meetings. Cary has never defeated Prime Time, something Bull City did back on April 19, with a 117-115 win over over the TRBL champs.