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Unkrich and Company take home title

BY CHARLES GREEN | JULY 31, 2014 5:00 AM

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Brendan Unkrich’s team came into the Game Time League championship Wednesday with a dominant season on the line against Randy Larson and Company.

Unkrich’s squad left with not only a championship but also a perfect season.

“We were fortunate to have the right pieces to the puzzle this year,” Unkrich said. “When you have good players who work together, you have yourself a great team.”

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Larson’s team played without Iowa guard Melissa Dixon, the league’s second leading scorer. Her absence proved too much for the team to overcome, and Unkrich’s team won, 81-58.

“Melissa Dixon’s one of the best players in this league by far,” Unkrich said. “Give Larson credit; his team still came out with a ton of energy.”

But without its star player, Larson’s team was no match for the deep and defensively smothering Unkrich squad.

Iowa guard Ally Disterhoft scored a game-high 36 points for Unkirch and added 8 rebounds, pacing the offense and consistently scoring in traffic at the basket.

“We just came out here and played aggressively,” she said. “We pushed the ball, and moved the ball on offense, and found the open looks.”

Disterhoft was named MVP of the Game Time League at halftime, after leading the league in scoring. She shot 12-of-22 from the field for the game.

Unkrich’s team scored the first 11 points of the contest and never looked back.

As well as Disterhoft played offensively, the defense once again gave Unkrich’s team the edge.

“Courtney Straight and Moran Lonning do the little things that don’t show up in the stat books but that really give you the opportunity to win games,” Unkrich said.

Straight, a guard from Truman State, and Lonning, a guard from Northern Iowa, kept Larson’s guards out of the lane all night, forcing the team into contested jump shots on many of its possessions.

Guard Jaqui Kalin led Larson’s team with 31 points and 7 assists, but despite her effort could not bring the team within double digits of Unkrich’s in the second half.

When Kalin did penetrate Unkrich’s perimeter defense, center Chase Coley protected the paint, making easy buckets down low hard to come by for Larson and Company.

At halftime, Coley was named the league’s Defensive Player of the Year.

Unkrich’s team communicated with other on switches and designed plays, executing their help defense to near perfection.

Defensively, they gave up just 26 points in the first half and only 58 by the time the game was finished.

Disterhoft was unstoppable on offense, and the defense as a whole smothered Larson’s players. In essence, it was the same game that Unkrich’s team has played all summer.

Now, it has a championship to show for it.

“All of our success was based on how well we worked as a team,” Unkrich said. “We got off to a hot start but kept our cool. They put together a couple of runs, but we made sure to get the points back.”


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