Sharpshooters, big men highlight Prime Time semifinal

BY MATT CABEL | JULY 19, 2013 5:00 AM

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It began with a Josh Oglesby 3-pointer that swooshed home with ease. 

It continued on the next play with Gabe Olaseni taking a power dribble and finding the lane wide open for a lay-up. 

Olaseni did the same thing on the next possession, only with his left hand, on the left side of the basket. 

Oglesby responded with another move of his own, stepping backwards on way to another 3-point shot. 

And so it progressed for the rest of the game: a back-and-forth contest pitting interior play from Olaseni and Zach McCabe against the long-range sniping of Oglesby and Devyn Marble that resulted in a 109-95 victory for Marble’s team. 

“Anytime you’re in a playoff game or a tournament game, [the intensity] is ramped up,” McCabe said. “[Marble and Oglesby’s team] came out more ready than we were … They played really well and obviously had a game plan for us, and they executed it.” 

That game plan? Keeping the ball out of the lane, where McCabe and Olaseni are most threatening. 

Olaseni and McCabe’s teammates focused on feeding the ball into the lane. Olaseni was clearly the team’s primary target in the first half; he scored his team’s first 10 points.

But in the second half, falling behind by 20, the team focused on more perimeter shots and didn’t feed Olaseni the ball. But the London native still managed to finish with 35 points and 17 rebounds. 

“Gabe still killed us,” Oglesby said. “In the first game, we played a 2-3 zone and they just killed us, so we wanted to get up into the ball handlers and we wanted to turn it over.”

Oglesby’s and Marble’s team swung the ball around the perimeter, continually looking for extra passes and open shooters. The team also relied on fast-break opportunities to push the ball into the lane or clear space for shooters.

It was only a matter of time before the treys rained down, and that’s exactly what happened Thursday night. 

“We were the fifth seed [going into the playoffs],” Oglesby said. “Devyn wasn’t there a couple times, I missed the first couple of games, but now we’re starting to gel. I think we’re playing well.

“I’ve always said that, as a shooter, if you make your first or second [shot], you get into a rhythm. Early on, I got into the rhythm of the game. I’m proud of our team.”

The game opened closely, tied at 21 with 11 minutes remaining. But it was all Marble and his corps of sharpshooters from there on — they took a 29-21 lead with over nine minutes remaining. 

Oglesby’s game was particularly sharp. Not only did he sink 6-of-13 3 pointers on his way to 24 points, he also showed a more developed game. He sunk midrange shots with ease and even drove the lane and finished on numerous occasions. 

“When [Oglesby is] on, you kind of just know it,” McCabe said. “… They were using double screens to get him the ball to let him go one-on-one, and he can just make whatever.”

Marble was also a threat. He finished with 28 points, 10 rebounds, 7 assists, and a windmill dunk with less than 30 seconds left in the game to punctuate his team’s placement the Prime Time championship game on July 21. 

“I knew that once we had our whole team back that we were going to be dangerous,” Marble said. “Obviously, it was a good team with Gabe and Zach during the regular season, but it’s a different time now. It’s playoff time, and I’m a competitor.”

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