Kach Alexander dominates once again

BY ERIK PAPKE | JUNE 30, 2011 7:20 AM

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When you have Morgan Johnson, the tallest player on the court, as your starting center, you might expect to win a Game Time League game.

However, the deciding factor in Wednesday evening’s late matchup between Johnson and Kachine Alexander was not height — it was experience. Alexander has more, and it showed in a 85-58 final score.

Alexander, a 2011 graduate of the Iowa basketball program, continued to post strong numbers on the court. Just a few months removed from a record-setting career with the Hawkeyes — she became the fifth player in Big Ten history to score 1,000 points, grab 800 rebounds, and dish out 300 assists — the Minneapolis native on Wednesday night scored a game-high 19 points on 7-of-13 shooting, while also securing a game-high 12 rebounds.

The 5-9 former Hawkeye flew around the court, both on offense and defense. She out-hustled her opponents for loose balls all game long, and at one point even dove over two other players to try and save the ball from going out of bounds.

“My game never changes,” said Alexander. “No matter if it’s summer league or a scrimmage, I play the same all the time.”

The game began as Alexander’s Monica’s/Bob’s Your Uncle team (2-0) stormed out to a 6-point lead, thanks to the 3-point shooting of Jacqui Kalin and Mackenzie Westcott-Bradley.

However, Pelling/Culver’s (0-2) managed to stay in the game thanks to speedy point guard Sharnae Lamar.

The 5-0 Northern Iowa product had spectators oohing and aahing at her impressive ball-handling skills. Three in particular stood out — Hawkeyes Roy Devyn Marble, Melsahn Basabe, and Anthony Hubbard all were very vocal from the stands in their praise of Lamar.

The diminutive Lamar had no trouble breaking down her defenders and getting to the basket in the first half, and she scored 7 of her 9 points before halftime.

The game began slowly; the teams traded turnovers and blocked shots for the first few minutes. After that, Monica’s coach Brendan Unkrich turned to 6-4 high-school senior Madison Baier. The Iowa State commitment from South Tama (Iowa) High played terrific defense against the taller Johnson, and limited the Hawkeye center to just 5 rebounds the entire first half.

Despite the shutdown of its best player, Pelling managed to keep the game close until the back end of the first half. With 7:17 left in the period, Lamar drained a 3-pointer to cut the team’s deficit to just 8 points.

That didn’t last long, however, as a three-point play from Alexander and a fast break lay-up from Mercedes Morgan pulled Monica’s back up by 13.

Sloppy play from Pelling killed any chance of a comeback in the first half. Turnovers and bad shots allowed Alexander and Company to go on a 17-9 run to end the half and go into intermission with a 46-25 lead.

Johnson was invigorated by the break and started the second half on fire. The Platte City, Mo., native made the first five shots she attempted and began to dominate the post.

Even Johnson’s 12 second-half points weren’t enough to overcome the huge deficit, though.
Unkrich took none of the praise after the game.

“I feel like all I am over here is a cheerleader and not a coach,” the former Indiana Pacer scout said. “I do a little bit of subbing, a little bit of motivating, and the rest is the players.

“[The players] played tremendously — if you shoot the ball like that and play with that kind of energy, you’re going to have good things happen to you.”

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