Game Time's second week ready to roll

BY WILL MCDAVID | JUNE 25, 2014 5:00 AM

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After the Game Time Basketball League’s summer début, coaches and players alike ready themselves for today’s games, the wins and losses of the previous week providing valuable lessons.
For coach Clark Anderson’s team, a 39-point performance by opposing player Melissa Dixon in last week’s game was a reminder of how crucial guard Sam Logic — who was absent at last week’s opener — will be to his group’s future.

“We had that matchup problem with Dixon; she kind of had her way out there,” Anderson said. “It definitely would have helped to have Sam there.”

While his squad’s last game was overshadowed by Logic’s absence, her return to the lineup gives Anderson’s team a sense of cautious optimism for its first game at full strength.

“Obviously, having Sam is going to make a big difference,” he said. “We’ve just got to play to each other’s strengths and keep playing hard.”

To opposing coach Randy Larson, the game was a fleeting glimpse of what his team can achieve when Dixon is on her game.

“I really felt like Melissa had to be the person that got it going for us,” Larson said. “I really encouraged her to be aggressive. She’s just naturally unselfish. She’s got such a great, quick release that she doesn’t need much room to get open.”

Though Anderson’s efforts to subdue Dixon were ultimately unsuccessful, his defensive strategy provided Larson with helpful information, allowing him to incorporate the lessons of last week’s game as a means of anticipating schemes engineered to contain his top scorer.

“They attempted to take away the 3 and made her drive the ball,” Larson said. “That’s where she needs to get better, because that what every team’s going to try to do.”

While Larson is rarely shy when it comes to critiquing his players, he is just as quick to point out how “very impressed” he was with them, his suggestions serving only as a means of instilling the good habits that forge great players.

“The purpose of this experience is to get better every minute of every game, so let’s play the right way,” Larson said. “If we just ingrain those habits, I like the team.”

Close loss has silver lining for Johnston’s team

Despite last week’s heartbreaking loss at the hands of Dave McCool’s team, Joe Johnston’s squad showed flashes of its considerable potential in defeat. While much was made of Bethany Doolittle’s 30 points, the group’s philosophy is predicated on a collective willingness to move the ball.

“We all look out for the open person,” St. Ambrose guard Sydney Greiner said. “We are generous with the ball. If someone is more open than we are, we find them.”

Because of the group’s tendency to get everyone involved, the next step for Johnston’s players will be developing familiarity.

“We were kind of thrown together,” Greiner said, “We need to be playing together more and learning each other’s tendencies.”

Players to watch

1. Dixon — In her return to Game Time, the league’s reigning co-MVP wasted no time reminding onlookers why she had taken home its most coveted award in 2013, amassing 39 points for Larson’s team in a blow-out win over Anderson’s group.

2. Ally Disterhoft — While Dixon’s point total was the evening’s highest, Iowa sophomore Ally Disterhoft wasn’t far behind, scoring 36 points and defeating Brian Joens’ team by 20 points.

Disterhoft exhibited a diverse offensive arsenal, showing long-range accuracy, slashing ability, and even the capability to launch into a euro-step lay-up, a move that has gained popularity among NBA players. If Disterhoft maintains her high level of play through her next game against Johnston’s team, it might be staring at an 0-2 record.

3. Whitney Jennings — After scoring 20-points in her league début, the last of them coming in the form of a game-winning 3-pointer, Indiana’s Gatorade Player of the Year faces what might be her toughest individual opponent in Logic.

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