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Prime Time League semifinals breakdown

BY DOMINICK WHITE | JULY 17, 2013 5:00 AM

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The semifinals of the Prime Time League playoffs will take place on Thursday in North Liberty.

The Daily Iowan takes a look at the matchups and which team has the advantage.

No. 1 Pelling/Hawkeyereport.com vs. No. 5 Greater Iowa Financial/Vinton Merchants

The opening second round playoff game pits the Prime Time League’s best team against arguably the league’s best player. The contest is a matchup of contrasting styles, with Coach Kevin Lehman’s team featuring a dominant post presence in Iowa sophomore Gabe Olaseni, while Coach Kevin Sanders’ team relies on a lethal perimeter attack, led by Iowa star Devyn Marble.

Olaseni and fellow Hawkeye Zach McCabe led their team through an undefeated regular season behind their dominant interior play. Olaseni has been a monster on both ends of the court, emphatically throwing down game-altering dunks while protecting the basket at all costs.

McCabe complements the junior’s interior game with a versatile inside-out game. The senior is averaging a double-double this summer, scoring 22 points while pulling down 11.7 rebounds per contest, in addition to converting 54 percent of his attempts from behind the arc.

Marble’s team struggled for most of the summer but seems to have found a rhythm recently. The perimeter duo of Marble and Josh Oglesby will likely spread the floor in an attempt to lure Olaseni and McCabe out of the paint. Marble has been the floor general for Sanders’ team, averaging 29.6 points, 6.6 rebounds, and 6.8 assists in five games this summer.

Josiah Coleman could be the difference on Thursday night. He carried the scoring load for his team Sunday, when Marble and Oglesby were struggling to find their shots. If he can have similar production, that would give Sanders’ a legitimate three man attack on the perimeter that could take down the league’s top team.

No. 2 BlendCard vs. No. 3 Armstrong of Skogman Realty

The second part of Thursday night’s playoff action will be highlighted by a matchup of Iowa point guards — Anthony Clemmons leads coach Randy Larson’s team against Mike Gesell’s squad.

Clemmons’ team won the first meeting between the two teams, 115-100, behind 81 combined points from Clemmons, Dondre Alexander, and Jared Uthoff. Gesell tallied 21 points and 15 assists in the losing effort.

Coach Dan Ahrens’ lineup has struggled to give Gesell consistent scoring support. The sophomore point guard is putting up huge numbers this summer, ranking in the top five in scoring and assists with 26.3 points and 11.9 assists per game. Both William Penn product Keith Steffeck and future Iowa walk-on Okey Ukah have flashed glimpses of potential, but neither player has consistently produced in a secondary scoring role.

Meanwhile, scoring hasn’t been a problem for the opposition. Alexander, Clemmons, and Uthoff have been the driving forces behind their team’s strong start, collectively putting up 67.2 points per game.

This game could be an up-and-down contest because both teams like to push the pace, although, it could be a one-sided affair. Should Clemmons and Gesell cancel each other out in their one-on-one duel, Larson’s roster clearly has a better supporting cast.

Uthoff’s versatility will create defensive problems for Ukah on the perimeter, and Alexander’s quickness and athleticism could be too much for Steffeck to handle. Larson’s team has the scoring punch that Ahrens' lacks, making it the favorite.


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