Gatens still out; team loses in Prime Time contest

BY J.T. BUGOS | JULY 02, 2009 7:20 AM

Iowa’s Matt Gatens missed his third-straight game in the Prime Time League, and an injury-depleted Jill Armstrong of Lepic-Kroeger Realtors fell to Culver’s of Coralville, 93-80.

It was a game of runs, and Culver’s was able to make more and sustain them longer. The team jumped out to a 14-3 lead within the first five minutes of the game. Armstrong surged back to cut the lead to one with 11 minutes remaining in the first half.

The momentum shifted back to Culver’s when Armstrong’s Nick McFarlin, an ex-Radford College player, got called for a technical for hanging on the rim following a fast break dunk. Iowa’s Andrew Brommer made both technical free throws, and three minutes later, Culver’s pushed the lead back to double digits.

Culver’s led by as many as 26 points early in the second half, but Armstrong used solid outside shooting to close the gap to 12 with five minutes remaining in the game. Culver’s didn’t wilt however, letting its strong shooting keep the lead in double digits, even though Armstrong scored 13 points in the final two minutes.

Armstrong coach Dan Ahrens used this game to prepare for the playoffs, getting younger players time in Gatens’ and Matt Schneiderman’s stead. Gatens and Schneiderman, an ex-Northern Iowa player, were Armstrong’s first two draft picks.

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“We’re pretty limited shooters right now with Gatens and Schneiderman both out,” Ahrens said. “We tried getting younger players experience and getting them shots.”

Ahrens believes when his team gets healthy, it will be a force to be reckoned with.

“We’ve only played one game with both Schneiderman and Gatens,” Ahrens said. “And we won by 30. I don’t think anyone wants to play us when they’re both there.”

Also suffering injury during the game was Armstrong’s Nick Kramer, an ex-Upper Iowa player. He took a shot to the eye and managed to return to the game, but his effectiveness was limited. Ahrens said Kramer was among the league leaders in scoring, so losing him would be putting the team out of its top three players.

Armstrong won’t miss its top draft pick next week — Gatens will return to the court July 6. Gatens resumed running, shooting, and doing drills Tuesday. The Hawkeye sophomore said he was looking forward to being able to play and work out.

“It’s kind of nice to have a little break,” he said. “But at the same time, I’m ready to get back playing and get back in the weight room.”

After being able to watch his team in action without him, he sees what he needs to bring to the table when he returns.

“It looked as though we were having trouble scoring the ball,” he said. “So I’m going to be looking to score and also create shots for other guys.”

Brommer was the lone Iowa player to suit up for either side, scoring 16 points and grabbing six rebounds for Culver’s. The sophomore-to-be also took 10 free throws, more than Armstrong as a team, and knocked down eight.

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