Flight Fall To Invasion In CBL Championship
(Orlando, FL) - After a week of suspense and uncertainty, the Florida Flight (5-6) fell to the Cary Invasion (11-1) in the 2011 CBL Championship game 131-101.
The Flight locked up the second-place playoff berth by defeating both the Gainesville Galaxy and the Heartland Prowl in the final week of the CBL regular season. While preparing to square off against the Prowl for the Southern Division Championship, CBL officials informed Owner and Head Coach Mark King they would instead play in the Championship game.
"Apparently the Prowl ran into some unforeseen financial issues and was unable to finish out their season," said King.
With little time to prepare, the Flight embarked on an 11-hour road trip at 4AM Friday morning to Cary, North Carolina to play for the CBL Championship against the Invasion that same day.
The Invasion took immediate command of the game on the first possession, and extended their lead to 11 by the end of the first quarter. The Flight clawed back to cut the lead to 6 midway through the second, but the Invasion scurried onto another run, extending the lead to 17 at the close of the first half.
The second half was more of the same. Despite the defensive efforts of Ernest Jones, who forced a game-high seven steals on the night, the Invasion continued to run up the score on the Flight, who clearly ran out of gas in the fourth quarter. "Ernest Jones was definitely one of the toughest guards we saw all year," said Mark Janas, Owner of the Cary Invasion. "But a 10-hour car ride makes it tough for any team to compete."
"We would have liked to have a day to recover from the long road trip, but you take what you are given," said King. "I was proud of my guys. They put forth their very best effort given the circumstances."
The Invasion's Freddie Little, also named the CBL MVP for the season at the conclusion of the game, led all scorers with 26. Charles Ward contributed 22 points; and Jonathan Moore also added 21 points and collected a game-high 13 rebounds. Head Coach MarQus Johnson was also named CBL Coach of the year.
The Flight, boasting a squad of six rookies, relied heavily on the veteran play of Cordell Jeanty, Fred Meeks, Ernest Jones and Garvin Gordon, who tallied 81% of the team's entire scoring output. Jeanty led the way with 25 points and a team-high 9 rebounds. Meeks followed closely behind with 23; and Jones, named CBL Player of the Week for the final regular season week of play, chipped in 21 to complement his game-high number of steals.
Despite the loss, King views season two for the Flight a noteworthy success.
"This was definitely a good learning experience for us," said King. "Taking a team with six rookies to the championship game after an 0-3 start is a success in any league. Now we know just how important home court advantage is. We'll do what we can to fix that next season."
Although the CBL season has drawn to a close, the Flight will remain active. Plans to host several exhibition games during the off-season will be announced in the coming weeks. The team will also launch a Junior Flight League for area youths, and the coaching staff and players will be available for individual training sessions during the summer for a nominal fee.
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Continental Basketball League Stories from July 1, 2011
- Flight Fall To Invasion In CBL Championship - Florida Flight
- Flight Fall to Invasion in CBL Championship - Florida Flight
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