Monday, July 23, 2012

Prime Time Playoffs Start With Two Great Games

By: Randy Larson
Prime Time League Commissioner

The four teams in this year's Prime Time league conducted 2 fierce battles Sunday afternoon to see who gets a chance at bragging rights by winning the league championship Tuesday night at 9. The regular-season champs at 5-1, the Vinton Merchants/Gatens Real Estate team, was beaten by previously winless Culver's/Iowa City Ready Mix, 100-93. And in the second game of the day, the 2 and 3 seeds, Jill Armstrong and LL Pelling/McCurry's, finished with almost the identical score, won by Armstrong 99-93.

The triumphant 4 seed was led by their 4 Iowa players with great assistance by William Penn's Keith Steffeck. Here are their lines:

Eric May: 9-13 on 2's, 1-5 on 3's, 3-3 ft's, 22 pts, 7 rebounds, 1 asst.
Aaron White: 3-7 on 2's, 2-8 on 3's, 10-12 ft's, 22 pts, 8 rebs, 2 asts.
Anthony Clemmons: 4-7 on 2's, 1-6 on 3's, 3-3 ft's, 14 pts, 5 rbs, 2 asts.
Kyle Meyer: 3-6 on 2's, 1-1 on 3's, 2-2 ft's, 11 pts, 3 rbs, 1 ast.
Keith Steffeck: 4-5 on 2's, 4-5 on 3's, 20 pts, 5 rbs, 4 assts.
Eric May played his best game of the summer when it counted and the Culver's team made the size mismatches work for them more than Vinton could. Obviously they had great balance, and shot well, shooting 26-47 on 2's, 10-28 on 3's, 18-20 on ft's, and only getting out-rebounded by the much bigger Vinton team, 40-38. Dallas Hodges led them with 5 assists.

Vinton was led by Iowa incoming freshman Adam Woodbury who had 20 points. They also displayed great balance with Jarrod Uthoff scoring 18, Zach McCabe 17, Josh Oglesby had 14, and former Kirkwood and Iowa City West center Okay Ukah showing his moves inside by scoring 12.
Here are those 5's box scores:

Adam Woodbury: 10-14 on 2's, 0-2 ft's, 20 pts, 5 rbs, 1 ast.
Jarrod Uthoff: 6-13 on 2's, 1-3 on 3's, 3-3 ft's, 18 pts, 13 rbs, 6 asts.
Zach McCabe: 3-7 on 2's, 2-4 on 3's, 5-6 ft's, 17 pts, 9 rbs, 2 ssts.
Josh Oglesby: 1-2 on 2's, 4-10 on 3's, 14 pts, 3 rbs.
Okey Ukah: 6-7 on 2's, 12 pts, 1 rb.

Vinton continued its' season-long unselfish play which resulted in good shooting, 29-54 on 2's, 9-24 on 3's, and 8-11 on ft's, but couldn't stop Culver's from scoring and hurting them on the offensive boards. They tried a zone in the middle of the 2nd half and got the lead with it but after leading with 3 minutes to go, couldn't stop Culver's in the man-to-man they finished with. Head coach Randy Larson said "I loved how Adam developed offensively, shooting 10-14 tonight, and Zach was always good all summer. Jarrod showed how incredibly versatile and talented he is and I think he's going to be a very good Big Ten player. Josh is as good a shooter as there is in the Big Ten and I look for him to be right in the mix for a starting spot. We just never developed enough cohesiveness on defense and didn't talk enough, and tonight when the other team shot better than usual, that beat us."

In the 2-3 seeds game, Jill Armstrong rode its' 3 big horses, Jarryd Cole, Melsahn Basabe and Mike Gesell to victory. Their opponent, LL Pelling/McCurry's, was missing its' 2nd-best player, Ali Farokhmanesh but despite that, held the lead much of the game, before succumbing. Cole and Basabe both had 34 points and combined for 31 boards. The game was a series of big man match ups, as Cole and Basabe faced rapidly-developing Iowa center Gabe Olaseni and Prime Time veteran defensive star Brennan Swayzer.

Although Olaseni scored 31, in the end it was too much talent in the frontline for Jill Armstrong's team, with Gesell making sure the ball got to them, finishing with 12 assists. They also held LL Pelling's star Devyn Marble in check, as he scored 14 but was 6-17 from the field and 2-6 from the line.

Box Scores of selected players:

Melsahn Basabe: 13-23 on 2's, 0-3 on 3's, 8-10 ft's, 34 pts, 19 rbs, 3 asts.
Jarryd Cole: 15-23 on 2's, 0-2 on 3's, 4-4 ft's, 34 pts, 12 rbs, 3 asts.
Mike Gesell: 3-11 on 2's, 2-4 on 3's, 2-2 ft's, 14 pts, 6 rbs, 12 asts.
Darius Stokes: 0-3 on 2's, 1-3 ft's, 1 pt, 2 rbs, 1 ast.

Upper Iowa's starting guard Joey Woods did a good job defensively on Gesell but without a couple of missing players, starting power forward Tucker Wentzien and sharpshooter Farokhmanesh, their teamwork kept them in the game, but didn't let them prevail. Former Winona State Hall-of-Famer Kyle Schlaak scored 20.

Selected box scores:

Gabe Olaseni: 14-22 on 2's, 3-6 ft's, 31 pts, 6 rbs, 2 asts.
Kyle Schlaak: 8-11 on 2's, 1-1 on 3's, 1-1 ft's, 20 pts, 9 rbs, 1 ast.
Devyn Marble: 6-13 on 2's, 0-4 on 3's, 2-6 on ft's, 14 pts, 5 rbs, 8 asts.
Joey Woods: 5-10 on 2's, 1-2 ft's, 11 pts, 5 rbs, 6 asts.

The winning teams meet for a late-night championship game, televised on MC-22 on Mediacom at 9 pm Tuesday, July 24. The game is scheduled for 9 to allow Iowa players who have a night class on Tuesday to play without a class conflict.

The Game Time league semifinals are tonight, July 23rd, at 6 and 7:30, and are also televised on MC-22, as is the championship Wednesday at 6.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Game Time League Game 3: Commissioner's Report

By Randy M. Larson
Game Time League Commissioner

The Game Time league kicked off its' 2nd night of games June 27th, with the rosters more full than the first night. Iowa players Morgan Johnson, Theairra Taylor, Melissa Dixon and Bethany Doolittle all made their debuts, although all but Doolittle are only playing limited minutes as they continue to recover from injuries.

The first game featured Vinton Merchants/McCurry's team featuring first pick Samantha Logic from Iowa and a full squad of UNI players--Amber Kirschbaum, Jen Keitel, Erin Dohnalek and Hannah Schonhardt--blowing out the short-handed Johnson and Taylor squad sponsored by Cullen Painting/Bob's your Uncle and Monica's, 92-60.

Vinton had great balance, with Kirschbaum scoring 21, Bradley alum McKenzie Westcott and Dohnalek scoring 16, Schonhardt 10, Keitel 9 and Logic adding 8 to go with 8 rebounds and 6 assists.

Cullen/Bob's your Uncle/Monica's just couldn't compete with Johnson and Taylor only playing less-than-half time. Morgan in 12 minutes was 5-7 and 2-2 from the line for 10 points, with 2 boards and 1 assist; Taylor in 18 minutes was 4-9 and 2-3 on 3's and 2-2 on ft's, with 6 rebounds, 1 assist and 16 points.

The 2nd game of the night was closer and very intense, with bodies flying and defense the order of the day. The LL Pelling/Culver's team led by Bethany Doolittle defeated Coralville Hy-Vee, 68-57. Doolittle showed her progression after her freshman season, scoring 32 on 13-19 shooting and 6-8 from the line, adding 10 boards. She was aided by Melissa Dixon in about 20 minutes scoring 10, including 2-4 on 3's, 1-2 on 2's and 2-2 from the line. UNI's freshman Sharnae Lamar was a defensive force and scored 6 to go with 4 boards and a team-high 5 assists. Stephanie Davison from UNI grabbed 8 rebounds from her perimeter spot and her UNI teammate Alyssa Johnson had 7.

Hy-Vee was led by incoming Iowa freshman Kali Peschel from Minnesota, who looks ready to compete for a starting spot at the power forward spot, although she's more of a 3, but where Iowa is well-stocked. Peschel scored 15, although it took 12 2's and 10 3's to make her 6 shots, along with 1-1 from the stripe. Already mobile and aggressive and Peschel will lose her knee brace later this summer, so she should become even more so. Her fellow Iowa recruit from Minnesota Kayla Timmerman only attempted 4 shots, going 0-1 on 2's and 0-3 on 3's. Timmerman did get 6 rebounds and 1 assist. Incoming Juco transfer to Iowa Kathy Thomas added 10 points, 7 rebounds and 4 assists to team with Iowa veteran Trisha Nesbitt. Nesbitt shot 1-4 on 2's, 1-5 on 3's and 3-6 on ft's, to score 8.

UNI off-guard Brooke Brown showed why she's one of the best players in the league, scoring 10 for Hy-Vee and continuing to show the leadership and competitiveness on the court I noticed the first night.

Brown shot 4-6 on 2's, 0-4 on 3's and 2-4 on ft's. She grabbed 5 rebounds and got 1 assist. Her teammate from UNI Amber Sorenson scored 5 on 1-4 from both 2 and 3, and grabbed 5 boards. Kirkwood's Shantel Lehman, headed to Wayne State, grabbed 7 boards as well.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Prime Time League Game 3: Commissioner's Report

By Randy M. Larsen
Prime Time League Commissioner

Prime Time's 3rd set of games tipped off July 1 with the frontline of Gabe Olaseni/Devyn Marble/Kyle Meyer on the LL Pelling/McCurry's team vs. the big 4 of the Vinton Merchants/Gatens team, Zach McCabe, Adam Woodbury, Jarrod Uthoff and Josh Oglesby. Gabe Olaseni showed he is developing quickly as he posted 20 points and 7 rebounds, going mostly up against Woodbury, who had 8 and led all rebounders with 14.

However Gabe shot 9-15 from the floor and 2-2 from the free throw line while Adam was 4-16 and got no charity tosses. The defense on Devyn Marble was pretty good, holding him to 6-19, including 0-5 from 3, to go with 5 rebounds and 4 assists but Marble's team prevailed pretty easily,
98-84 after leading 51-40 at half time.

Ali Farokhmanesh made all four of his four attempts from beyond the arc, as both teams shot the 3 well, with his team shooting 8-19 and Josh Oglesby leading the losing team with 4-6 on 3's and his team shooting 9-18. Neither Uthoff nor McCabe attempted a 3. McCabe's line was 5-14 and 2-2 from the line, for 12 points, and he had 8 boards and 1 assist. Uthoff shot 4-8, scoring 8, and grabbed 8 rebounds to go with 2 assists. Oglesby added 4-5 on 2's, to his 3-point sharpshooting to score 20, to go with 2 boards and 1 assist.

My critique of the game was that the Pelling team worked harder, passed it better and stayed close on the boards, losing by 2 to the bigger Vinton team. Woodbury rebounded extremely well and stayed out of foul trouble but struggled to finish his moves against Olaseni (as most will), as the Pelling team stayed at home on the good exterior shooters. Olaseni showed he can make his mid-range jumper a bit, although it still is flat, and that he is going to be in the mix for playing time in the Hawkeye frontline this fall. Next to Basabe, he may be the team's best shot-blocker.

The second game of the afternoon matched the Jill Armstrong trio of super-recruit Mike Gesell, Melsahn Basabe and Jarryd Cole vs. Culver's stars, Aaron White, Eric May and incoming Iowa recruits Anthony Clemmons and Kyle Meyer. If you remember Meyer being on the Basabe/Cole team originally, that's exactly right, as we moved him to replace an injured player, Dain Swetalla, on the Culver's team. He should see more action too, as playing time behind Cole and Basabe is obviously limited.

The story of this game was Mike Gesell and Melsahn Basabe teaming up for 57, shooting very well, with Mike going 9-13 on 2's and Mel going 14-23. Gesell added 2-5 shooting on 3's, and 5 rebounds and 4 assists. You'd be hard-pressed to find an observer who doesn't think he's the starting point guard for the Hawks this fall from day one. Basabe was unstoppable, and shot 4-5 from the line too, while controlling the boards and the lane together with Cole, grabbing 9 boards and even getting 2 assists. Cole led the way with 12 rebounds, and led with 5 assists too, as well as shooting 7-11 and scoring 14. Michael Aldeman from Mid-Prairie and DMAC added 12 on 4-6 shooting from 3.

Eric May was a perfect 7-7 from the line and 5-9 on 2's, to score 17 to go with 6 boards and 0 assists. White scored 19 but needed 15 shots to make 6, with one missed trey, and shot 7-10 on free throws. White was a powerhouse on the boards against Basabe and Cole, grabbing 17. He has 2 assists. But even in Prime Time, you can't give up 109 and win.

Kyle Meyer played well too, especially considering the matchups he faced, shooting 7-12 on 2's, 0-1 on 3's, and posted 14 points and 12 boards. He's niftier than he looks and seemed in this 3rd game of the summer to relax and show what he can do. Clemmons continued his consistently strong defensive play but I don't believe anyone will stop Mike Gesell and he didn't. Anthony scored 8 on 4-9 shooting and had 4 rebounds and 2 assists. Keith Steffeck from William Penn scored 13 on 4-7 shooting from 3.

Games resume Sunday July 8 at 3 and 4:30 in the free and air-conditioned environment of the North Liberty Rec Center. Game Time games resume Wednesday July 11 and continue Mondays and Wednesdays the rest of the way, with the championship Wednesday the 25th. All league details and stats can be found at