Point guards reign in Game Time

BY CHARLIE GREEN | JULY 06, 2015 5:00 AM

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Three weeks into league play, Randy Larrson’s Marion Iron and Kay DiLeo’s Beat the Bookstore/Westport are the only unbeaten teams remaining in the Game Time League — and they share a common, pivotal denominator.

To make matters more interesting, the two will play each other on Wednesday for the top-seed in the league playoffs.

“It’s going to be a good battle between Whitney [Jennings of Marion Iron] and Tania [Davis of Beat the Bookstore] next week,” Iowa forward and Davis teammate Megan Gustafson said.

point guards Davis and Jennings have led their teams to 3-0 starts to the summer. The two have set themselves and their teams apart not just through sheer athleticism but through an ability to run an offense.

“Having a good, strong point guard really helps — somebody who can handle the ball and score,” DiLeo said. “And both of those players can do both of those things.”

In the up-tempo fashion that characterizes summer ball, having athletic and relentless guards can make the difference between a good and great team.

“I just think in a league like this, the point-guard position is really important,” Jennings said. “I think when you have good point guards leading your team, you’re going to be successful.”

True point guards seem to be in low supply in Game Time. McCurry’s/BlendCard head coach Brendan Unkrich earlier in the season said he regretted not selecting a veteran floor general for his team.

Unkrich has one of the most talented rosters overall, but without an experienced point guard bringing the ball up, his team sits at 1-2. The squad, however, has been shorthanded most of the summer.

But it’s clear that the best point guards reign supreme in 2015, and those without an effective player at the position have struggled.

Davis’ and Jeninngs’ teams are a combined 6-0 on the season; the remaining teams are a combined 3-9.

Even with as much success as Gustafson has enjoyed this summer, she knows her team would not be in the same position if it weren’t for Davis.

“Ball handling is key here,” Gustafson said. “It’s a faster game here, Tania’s going to be so helpful coming into the playoffs for summer league.”

Larson’s squad has more than Jennings, too. He used his third draft pick on Luther’s Moran Lonning, a point guard who can free up the athletic Jennings to have more of a scoring role.

Jennings scored 42 points last week’s 144-75 win over Cullen/Joensy’s. Lonning added 26 points and 7 assists.

Davis has the luxury of such players as Gustafson and Dartmouth’s Kate Letkewicz to help her carry the load. And Iowa’s Claire Till provides Jennings and Lonning an elite scorer on the perimeter.

There are plenty of forwards and shooting guards who have made their presence known this summer, but success has come to those with the top floor generals.

“I think it’s harder to get the ball inside when you don’t have any plays and stuff,” Larson said. “With pace being up-and-down, guards are going to have the ball a lot more, but I also think they happen to be probably the best two players in the league.”

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