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Morgan Johnson beats Virginia Johnson in Game Time showdown

BY ERIK PAPKE | JULY 14, 2011 7:20 AM

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It took all season, but Morgan Johnson finally got a win in the Game Time League.

Johnson scored 20 points and pulled down 9 rebounds to will her previously winless team to a 79-67 victory on Wednesday night in the league’s final regular-season game.

The Iowa senior, last week’s Daily Iowan Player of the Week, took on a pair of talented incoming freshman in North Liberty. Virginia Johnson put up her third double-double of the season by scoring a game-high 25 points and grabbing 10 rebounds for Pelling/Culver’s, and teammate Samantha Logic chipped in 16 points.

And while the pair continued to be impressive, it wasn’t enough to overcome the overall team effort from Morgan Johnson’s Pelling/Culver’s squad (1-3).

“We played great tonight,” Morgan Johnson said. “We got on the floor, we executed our press … the girls played phenomenal tonight.”

The 6-5 senior said she was confident her team has turned a corner as the playoffs loom, saying her teammates are “definitely” a force to be reckoned with in elimination play.

That remains to be seen, but Pelling did look like a brand-new team on Wednesday.

Morgan Johnson shot 9-of-11 from the field, including the game’s first bucket when she buried a jumper over the much shorter Jessica McDowell.

“She’s an outstanding basketball player — I thought she played great,” Virginia Johnson said about her future teammate.

Pelling’s Brooke Brown also put up impressive numbers. The Northern Iowa forward scored 15 of her team-high 22 points in the first half, helping lead the team to a 40-32 advantage at the break.

Hy-Vee coach Mike Stoermer was visibly upset and was kicking the air and yelling for his players to be more assertive as they (2-2) failed to score in the final two minutes of the half.

That theme continued throughout the contest, and Virginia Johnson said she was frustrated by the lack of support.

“I thought we could have definitely played better,” the Iowa City native said. “We didn’t execute with precision, but we’re still a good team.”

Hy-Vee’s struggles extended beyond the court. The team lost a coin-flip with fellow 2-2 squad Vinton/McCurry’s, and it will be the No. 4 seed in the Game Time playoffs.

The seeding means Pelling and Hy-Vee will meet for the second week in a row on July 20, and Virginia Johnson said she wasn’t going to let the regular-season loss carry into the playoff opener.

“We’re going to bring this into the next game for motivation,” she said. “Hopefully, we come back stronger.”

Morgan Johnson said her team isn’t going to roll over, though. Instead, Pelling will be riding high after saving itself from the embarrassment of a winless season.

“We are a whole new team now,” the Platte City, Mo., native said. “We finally figured out how to play together, and we’re just doing great.”


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