NORTH AUGUSTA — E1T1 didn’t let perfection slip away.
Joel Berry’s torrid shooting start gave his team the early lead and Alex Owens’ rebounding and some clutch foul shooting finished the job as the team out of Florida won this year’s championship game of the EYBL Finals at the Nike Peach Jam.
E1T1 beat the CP3 All-Stars 108-102 Sunday at Riverview Park Activities Center.
A couple of hours earlier, the Arkansas Wings beat the 16U E1T1 team 67-48 for the Nike Sweet 16 Invitational championship.
“I’m just excited,” a beaming Berry said. “It’s been three years in the EYBL, and I always dreamed of this. And I got it.”
Berry scored 22 points in the game, with 17 in the first half. One of his three first-half 3-pointers finalized a 15-3 run that stretched E1T1’s lead to 50-34.
“I kind of surprised myself,” Berry said. “I know I’m a shooter, but when I was hitting the 3s, I was like, ‘You know, I might as well keep on shooting them.’ ”
Five other players scored at least 20 points, with the CP3 All-Stars’ Theo Pinson the leader at 23. Pinson, who, with Berry, is committed to the University of North Carolina, got 16 of his points at the foul line. The CP3 All-Stars made 13 more foul shots than E1T1 attempted. But the winners made six more 3-pointers than their North Carolina opponent, as D’Angelo Russell hit two in a row early in the second half.
Despite those, the CP3 All-Stars marched back and had the ball down only three points with 22.8 seconds remaining.
Two tying 3s were missed, as was a free throw moments later after a foul. The missed attempt on the second free throw was grabbed by Owens, who came down with a game-best 16 boards.
Two free throws better protected the lead at 106-102, and Grayson Allen iced the game with a steal and two more free throws.
“We came first in our division in the EYBL regular season, but that really didn’t mean much to us,” Allen said. “It was an accomplishment, but we always had this in mind. This was our goal.”