FORT MILL — For the third straight year, the Primetime Players won the Tobacco Road Basketball League championship.
Primetime never trailed as the team ran past the Cary Invasion 128-107 Saturday evening at Banks Street Gym.
Led by Limestone College’s Terell Smith, who scored 24 points, and 6-foot, 7-inch Malaciah Jones, who scored 22 and grabbed 11 rebounds for a double-double, Primetime held off several rallies by Cary, but stopped the Invasion before they could get within seven points. Jones was voted MVP of the tournament.
Primetime outscored Cary 40-28 in the third quarter.
Primetime had seven of its eight players score double figures.
For head coach Chris Thomas, winning the third straight championship is a fitting way to go out for the team as it will join the East Coast Basketball League next season.
“It feels good to go out on top,” Thomas said.
Thomas said the play of Johnson C. Smith’s Brian Mobley, who scored 18, and Wingate’s Sean Barnette, who scored 16, made the difference for the game.
“Barnette and Mobley were too much for them,” Thomas said.
Cary opened the fourth quarter on a 7-0 run and pulled within 10 at 107-98 with about 4:15 left in the game. However, every time the Invasion would get close, Primetime extended its lead with one of the 19 3-pointers the team made in the game.
The Invasion was hampered for most of the game with foul trouble as it was called for 26 fouls in the game. Cary also had 18 turnovers in the game, hurting its chances of shifting momentum.
The Primetime Players hit 7-of-16 3-pointers in the third quarter, while Cary hit just 3-of-9 in the period. Primetime was led by Smith as he scored nine of his 24 points in the third quarter.
Cary stayed aggressive and out-rebounded the Primetime Players as a team 56-48. The Invasion also outscored Primetime 23-20 in the second quarter to help close the gap heading into the half. The Invasion used its quickness to get the penetration it struggled with early in the game in the second quarter as it went on a 5-0 run and pulled within five at 43-38.
Cary shot 50 percent in the second quarter, but couldn’t capitalize on anything outside of the arc as it went 0-7 during the period.