No surprise: Printy-less team loses in playoffs

BY ERIK PAPKE | JULY 21, 2011 7:20 AM

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Wednesday evening's Game Time League first-round playoff matchup paired Vinton/McCurry's (3-2) against the Two Rivers/Coach's Corner (0-4).

All season long, Two Rivers has been without first-round draft pick and Iowa All-American guard Jaime Printy, who missed the regular season after having surgery to remove a cyst from her hand. Unfortunately for coach Randy Larson, Wednesday was not the night Printy made her 2011 Game Time début.

As a result, Vinton won, 80-68, to advance to the semifinals on July 25.

Two Rivers began the fast-paced game with a quick lay-up from Northern Iowa forward Jen Keitel, but coach Clark Anderson's Vinton squad was quick to answer with a wide-open jumper from Samantha Saladino.

The teams appeared to be evenly matched during the first half. With such stars as Printy and Kamille Wahlin both nursing injuries — the Hawkeye point guard was held out of the game by an Iowa trainer, but she didn't have any visible signs of injury — role players were forced to step up and take on the scoring load.

No one did this better than Two Rivers guard Rachel Madrigal. The 5-11 Northern Iowa Panther scored 18 of her 22 points in the first half to help her team keep up with Vinton, which boasted more college players than the high-school dominated Two Rivers roster.

While Vinton may have had more college players, Larson's lineup appeared to play with more heart in the first half. The depleted roster managed to grab 7 offensive rebounds in the first half and turned those boards into 14 second-chance points.

Keitel was on the receiving end of most of the offensive boards — the 6-2 native of DeWitt, Iowa, grabbed six of her 11 rebounds in the period. She only managed to score 4 points in the half, however.

As the period came to a close, the score was tied at 37.

"We got caught on a couple of situations where they knocked down 3s, and we let them get back into the game in the first half," Larson said. "Instead of being up [by] 10 like we were for most of the half, we ended up being tied."

That inability to stay separated came back to haunt Two Rivers when Vinton opened the second half with a 27-9 run.

While the offense knocked down shot after shot — the team connected on 50 percent of its attempts in the period and was 5-for-9 from beyond the 3-point line — the defense ignited the run.

"Great defense — we played really well," Anderson said. "I'd like to take credit for the [run], but really, it's all on the [players]."

Larson was able to ignite one last run from his Printy-less roster, and the team was able to pull within 12 points, but that was as close as Two Rivers came.

The coach shouldered all the blame for his team's winless Game Time season.

"I wasn't very good as a coach this summer," said Larson, who also struggled at the helm of a Prime Time League team that went 2-6. "I didn't do my homework; I didn't find out that Jaime had the surgery."

Larson told his players after the game that he "loved the way they battled."

In the end, though, he told them he "just didn't give them enough."

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