Game Time championship game set

BY TRAVIS VARNER | JULY 22, 2009 7:15 AM

The Game Time League championship game is set — Coralville Hy-Vee stormed past Goodfellow Printing/Imprinted Sportswear, 77-61, in game one, and Active Endeavors/McCurry’s held on to a 69-63 victory over L.L. Pelling Company/ Cullen Painting in the second semifinal in North Liberty on Tuesday.

The games were polar opposites. Hy-Vee could have been declared the victor five minutes into the first half, jumping out to an early 10-2 run. Active Endeavors/McCurry’swasn’t as fortunate, almost surrendering a 15-point lead late in the final minutes of the game.

Pelling/Cullen could not buy a bucket for most of the game, firing air balls, bricks, and deflected shots. Then, after a stirring, uplifting pep talk by head coach Randy Larson late in the second half, the team caught fire and cut deficit to four points with two minutes to go.

Larson stressed to his players to keep their heads up and that they were making good decisions, but shots just wouldn’t drop. He promised his Pelling/Cullen team that would change.

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“I think they kind of knew that it was still anybody’s game,” he said. “If they just played possession by possession, played defense, and didn’t turn it over, then we’d have a chance. They are a bunch of battlers.”

With the lead cut to four points and momentum on Pelling/Cullen’s side, it appeared a comeback victory was bound to happen. But Active Endeavors/ McCurry’s players JoAnn Hamlin and Jaime Printy caught second winds and drained critical buckets in the waning two minutes of the game.

Those clutch baskets sealed the game and the championship reservation.

Active Endeavors/ McCurry’s coaches Mark Weaver and Gary Altman maintained a high level of confidence in their team despite the evaporated lead because of their players’ basketball IQ.

“We held [the comeback] off because we have smart kids,” Altman said. “They work the ball and got the ball where they needed to have it. I thought our kids showed good poise in the last part of the game.”

The other semifinal game was a blowout from the start. Iowa junior Kachine Alexander helped her Hy-Vee squad run past Goodfellow/Imprinted with frequent fast breaks, precise passes, and sharp shooting. She was on pace to have an outstanding statistical performance but was pulled early because of the score.

Despite the low number of minutes, Alexander almost had a triple-double, ending with nine points, eight rebounds, and seven assists. Although she had a big first half, she thinks her team’s defensive prowess was the key to victory.

“I think just team defense down the stretch with stopping their key scorers was really a big key,” she said.

Although the game was never close, Goodfellow/ Imprinted showed a lot of heart and effort all the way until the final buzzer. With only seven players dressed, compared with Coralville Hy-Vee’s 10, the team exhibited fatigue yet kept fighting.

Goodfellow/Imprinted head coach Brendan Unkrich was disappointed with the outcome of the game but loved his team’s effort. His No. 1 goal with each game was to make his players better.

“We just try to get everybody to play hard,” he said. “They did a pretty good job, they moved a lot, and you can always do better … I just want them to get better, whether they’re Iowa girls or junior-college girls. I just want them to get better.”

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