Eric May's team advances to PTL finals after first win

BY CARLOS SOSA | JULY 23, 2012 6:30 AM

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The way the Prime Time League is set up this summer, a team needs only one win on playoff Sunday to advance to the championship game on Tuesday.

Culver's/Ready Mix had gone winless in its previous five games, but on Sunday, the players got their first win over the first place Vinton Merchants/Gatens, 100-93.

"It feels great to finally get a win," William Penn forward Keith Steffeck said. "We've been working hard; every game has been close. Most games we start out with a 20-point deficit and have to fight our way back. Today, we started well and finished well."

Head coach Ron Nove's team came out with one goal in mind — to get a win. Nove's team came out strong on offense following the lead of Iowa senior-to-be Eric May. He scored his second basket on a reverse slam-dunk that set the tone for the rest of the game.

"We said before the game that we have to come out aggressive," incoming freshman Iowa guard Anthony Clemmons said. "That's what lacked the other games. Today, we just tried to come out aggressive and play ball."

Coming out with the right mindset allowed Nove's team to focus on playing basketball, and May finished the game with a team-high 24 points. His play, along with that of his teammates, took pressure off Iowa star forward Aaron White.

"My teammates really picked it up," White said. "Eric May played the best game I'd seen him play in the summer. Kyle [Meyer] made plays, and Clemmons knocked down some shots. To be honest with you, it was everyone else on the team that stepped up, and that's why we're playing [in the championship game] on Tuesday."

Five players for Nove's team scored in double figures on Sunday. White finished the game with 22 points and 8 rebounds, Clemmons added 14 points, and Steffeck had the most exciting 20 points. He went 4-of-5 from long range and was able to treat the Prime Time fans with a monstrous fast-break dunk and numerous put-backs.

"I was just trying to work hard on defense," Steffeck said. "Defense is how you win games. My teammates were able to find me open, and everything was clicking."

Nove's team was able to come up with stops when it mattered and executed on the offensive end. Culver's was able to build a 43-34 lead with 5:20 to go in the first half after back-to-back dunks from Meyer and Steffeck. Meyer contributed 11 points in the victory.

The matchup that dominated the game, however, was between White and ex-Wisconsin forward Jarrod Uthoff.

"These games get heated, and he's a great player," White said. "Obviously, we're going to push each other on the floor. Nothing is going to be given. We were going after it, and it was a good competition between us."

Uthoff finished the game with a double-double, scoring 18 points and grabbing 13 rebounds.

"[White is] a great player, and I enjoy playing against him," Uthoff said. "His team shot tremendously, and we gave them all they could handle."

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