Raleigh Revolt Win 2015 Tobacco Road Basketball League Championship
No matter the outcome of the 2015 TRBL Championship Game, a first-year team was going to earn the League’s title. The Charlotte Elite and Raleigh Revolt both entered the TRBL scene this season with a splash, beating the traditional league powers during the regular season and making strong runs in the playoffs. The teams had met twice prior in the regular season, with the Elite coming away with the victory in both games and appearing to have the Revolt’s number.
But the Raleigh Revolt had a couple of reasons to be optimistic heading into the Championship game. First, several key Revolt players were missing during the first two meetings. Second, although a new team, the Revolt was comprised of a host of veteran minor league and pro players, 7 of which have been prior TRBL All Stars. However, for the first 24 minutes of the game, none of that seemed to matter. The Elite appeared to be the hungrier team on both the offensive and defensive ends, locking up Raleigh’s shooters while managing to get the better shots on their end. As during the first two meetings, there were multiple lead changes throughout the first half. The Elite led by a point after the first period, while the Revolt was able to muster a 5-point lead by the midway point.
The third period turned out to be the definitive 12 minutes of the game. The Elite drew the first blood in the quarter, quickly bringing the contest to a tie. But that seemed to wake a sleeping giant. Raleigh defensive specialists Daniel Jackson (Shaw) and Brandon Hickson (St. Augustine’s) led the way with several key stops that opened up the floor for Revolt sharpshooter Freddie Little (Montavello). Little, who started off very cold in the first half, came alive quickly, draining 4 straight 3-point shots. Jackson added his own 3-pointer, and the lead quickly ballooned to 15 points with barely 4 minutes gone by in the period. That’s as close as the game would get. The Revolt went to its bench and fresh players to keep up the defensive intensity. Those players created more turnovers and hit shots of their own, pushing the lead to 22 points by the end of the third period.
The Elite, a very dangerous team capable of big scoring runs, was forced to take chances to claw their way back in in the fourth quarter. But Raleigh would not be denied and took advantage of the overplay. A gassed Charlotte team left it all on the court but couldn’t stop the onslaught. The Revolt seemed to be more energized as the game wound down, pushing the lead to 35 points and winning the Championship 137-102.
Perennial league All Star Revolt forward Daniel Jackson (Shaw) was named the game’s MVP. Making his own case for game co MVP, Revolt point guard Brandon Hickson (St. Augustine’s) had the biggest game of the night and of his professional career, notching 32 points (85% shooting from the field), 6 assists, 6 rebounds, and 5 steals. Charlotte All Star LeMarquis Letchaw fought hard to keep his team in the game, adding 23 points in the loss.
Raleigh, who struggled with team chemistry through much of the season, found the right formula in time for the playoffs, beating its 3 playoff opponents by an average of nearly 30 points per game. The Revolt win concludes the 2014-2015 TRBL season. Planning for the League’s fifth season of play will begin this summer.