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Gatens, Basabe into second round of Prime Time playoffs

BY ERIK PAPKE | JULY 18, 2011 7:20 AM

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In the Prime Time League, defense is overrated.

This held true in the first round of the playoffs on Sunday, when the trio of Matt Gatens, Melsahn Basabe, and Aaron White scooted out to a comfortable 24-point lead in the second half of their matchup against Eric May's squad, McCurry's/Gatens. That lead proved to be insurmountable for McCurry's, and Falbo/Culver's secured a 104-91 win to knock reigning Prime Time MVP May out of the postseason.

The game didn't start out that way. The three-headed monster (5-3) was short-handed for the first 12 minutes of the game because Basabe, the team's starting power forward, arrived late.

May's McCurry's team (2-6) was able to control the paint while the Hawkeye sophomore was out of the action. McCurry's two big men, 6-9 Iowa center Andrew Brommer and 6-10 former European pro Ted Morris, appeared ready to take over the game until they both were sidelined by injuries.

That setback continued a season-long trend for Brommer, who had knee surgery in May and has only played limited minutes since his return July 5.

"We had no idea that his knee injury was so severe," said coach Randy Larson, who selected Brommer in the second round of the Prime Time draft. "Andrew was out there on one leg giving us all he had, but when the guy you take eighth overall isn't physically able to perform, you're [in trouble]."

Brommer and Morris finished with a combined 11 points and 9 rebounds.

Larson didn't just have the injury bug working against him, as it appeared at times that the referees may not have been especially objective.

Poor calls were made throughout the game, and the fans in the North Liberty Community Center let the refs know exactly what they thought of their calls.

"[The officiating] was a little bit suspect," said spectator and former referee Phil Shavers. "There were definitely some calls that they missed, [and one official] was out of position all day."

The players didn't appear to let the inconsistent officiating affect them, though. The score remained relatively close throughout the first 10 minutes — but that changed once Basabe showed up. The 6-7 forward from New York was immediately inserted into the lineup and quickly had an impact, scoring 5 points and snatching 5 boards as Falbo went on a 10-1 run to finish the half.

"It was close in the first half," Gatens said. "In the second half, we started attacking, and it picked up. It was a good win."

Gatens wasn't kidding. His team steadily pushed its lead to 24 points in the second half and held off a late charge to advance to the second round. Falbo's 104 points marked the fifth time this season the team eclipsed the century mark, the most of any team in the league.

Falbo's will play Bryce Cartwright's Ready Mix/Vinton in the semifinals on Tuesday.

And while his season ended prematurely, Larson said he was happy with the effort he saw from his team all summer long — especially given Brommer's injury, which heaped most of the scoring pressure onto May's shoulders — and that he hopes his players will take something positive from the experience.

"I was real proud of them," Larson said. "I think the guys could see how much better you are when you play the right way."


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