Point/Counterpoint: Who will win the Game Time trophy?

BY DI STAFF | JULY 25, 2012 6:30 AM

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Vinton/McCurry’s has had a bit of an easy time with this year’s Game Time League. Its lone loss occurred in the match against Cullen Painting, which Vinton lost by 7. The teams won’t get a chance for a rematch, however, due to Cullen Painting’s elimination in Monday’s semifinals.

With the lone loss eliminated, it’s safe to say that Brendan Unkrich and his team will be crowned champions of the Game Time League Monday night in the match against Coralville Hy-Vee. 

Led by Iowa sophomore Sam Logic and Bradley’s Mackenzie Westcott, the team took Game Time by storm, winning by more than 30 points in the first two games of the season. Even the team’s closest wins were won by more than 10 each time.

Frankly, this is a loaded team. Logic alone averaged 16.3 points, 8.5 rebounds, and 6.8 assists per game during the regular season. Her triple-threat nature makes her difficult to contain, and even when teams can, the ball is already into one of her teammate’s hands, giving her another notch in the assist column. Westcott led the team and the league in scoring, and Northern Iowa’s Amber Kirschbaum led the team and the league in rebounds, accumulating 58. 

The team led the league in points scored and rebounds. With a team this talented and with so many scoring threats, it’s easy to see why Vinton Merchants enters tonight’s matchup as the favorite. 

Talent can take a team a long way, but it takes chemistry to win a championship. And Vinton Merchants has chemistry. The points are divided well across the team, with five players averaging more than 10 points per contest.

If anything, this team seems to have learned from its only loss, and the players don’t seem as if they want it to happen again, especially after such a strong start. Coralville Hy-Vee still might be riding the waves of an upset win against Cullen Painting, but it doesn’t seem as though Vinton Merchants will have difficulty with the match, especially if the squad’s 18-point win over Hy-Vee during the season is any indication. 

And if all else fails, and the players find themselves with a deficit? 

Just give the ball to Logic — she’s proven time and again that she knows what to do with it.

— by Matt Cabel

Coralville Hy-Vee

Coralville Hy-Vee’s record is misleading — it finished the regular season 2-4, but grabbed a 77-72 win in the semifinals to advance to the Game Time Championship match tonight.

It doesn’t seem too impressive, but the strategy employed by head coach Mike Stoermer’s squad to beat Cullen Painting and coach Randy Larson shows that Coralville Hy-Vee is ready to take home the trophy.

Hy-Vee did beat Cullen Painting in the league’s opener on June 20, but Larson was missing both his Iowa players, Morgan Johnson and Theairra Taylor, to injury. Cullen Painting came back to win the next two match ups, 83-67 on July 11 and 92-58 on July 18.

The difference in scoring isn’t significant; in both wins and losses, Trisha Nesbitt was a constant scorer, with incoming Hawkeye Kali Peschel, Northern Iowa’s Amber Sorenson and Brooke Brown, and Wayne State’s Shantel Lehman putting up big numbers in at least one game.

But defense made all the difference.

Stoemer’s strategy switched from trying to outscore Cullen Painting — and its fantastic shooters in Johnson, Taylor, and Panther Jessica McDowell — to stopping them at the basket.

Hy-Vee’s defense tightened and let the team hold its opponent to 73 points, when it had recently scored in the 80s and 90s.

And this will work well against Hy-Vee’s championship opponent Vinton Merchants. Coach Brendan Unkrich’s squad is led by Iowa sophomore-to-be Sam Logic, who has scored 123 points over seven games, averaging an equal 42 percent from the floor and long range.

Vinton/McCurry’s also relies on Northern Iowa’s Amber Kirschbaum (the league’s rebound leader) and Bradley’s Mackenzie Westcott (the league’s scoring leader). But it relies on these two to score a lot.

Vinton has won by more than 10 points a game every game in its 6-1 record, but its scoring strategy is to score a lot.

If Hy-Vee can continue to press a strong defense and can point it in the right direction, keeping the ball out of Logic, Kirschbaum, and Westcott’s hands when they’re in shooting range, it can limit the high scoring Vinton to a low score and then win on defense.

Sometimes the best offense is a good defense, right?

— by Molly Irene Olmstead

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