Game Time titans clash

BY CHARLIE GREEN | JULY 08, 2015 5:00 AM

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In the final-regular season week of the Game Time League, the two undefeated squads, Kay DiLeo’s Beat the Bookstore/Westport and Randy Larson’s Marion Iron, will square off for the top seed in the playoffs.

“We’re both undefeated teams; it will be a good matchup,” Marion guard Whitney Jennings said. “Tania [Davis] is very competitive, as am I. It should be a fun one to watch.”

Both teams feature premier point guards. DiLeo’s selection of Davis in the first round has proven to be the right move. Whatever questions existed about the five-star recruit ahead of summer, she’s answered them, averaging 27.7 points per game.

Her quickness and vision makes her an elite facilitator as well. With fellow incoming Iowa freshman Megan Gustafson’s physical presence in the post and Dartmouth’s Kate Letkewicz on the wing, DiLeo has options to supplement her star player.

But Larson’s group looks like the deepest team in the league. Iowa guard Jennings has been the top player of the summer, averaging 35 points per game.

And Larson’s team is more than just Jennings. Luther’s Moran Lonning can play the point and free up Jennings to play shooting guard; she averages 24.3 points per game.

Iowa’s Claire Till rounds out the team’s “Big Three.” She averages 23.3 points a contest as a sharpshooter and slasher from the wing.

The three lead a team that averages a league-high 120.7 points per game, and they open up the floor for such teammates as Kylie Romeo, who scored 21 last week, to also get in on the action.

Larson and DiLeo take different approaches to the game given rosters. Although almost every Game Time squad pushes the ball in transition, the presence of Gustafson down low allows DiLeo to set up an effective half-court offense.

What Larson’s team lacks in the post, it makes up for in speed and relentlessness. Its high-powered attack starts with guards Lonning and Jennings, who push, drive, and either pull up on conservative defenders, fly past the overly aggressive, or dish to the perimeter after defenses collapse.

“Because Moran and Whitney are such great defenders, we want to pick the pressure up in the half-court and get out and run every time, try to wear the other team down,” Larson said.

The style has made for a dominating performance to this point, and the players will try to continue that dominance tonight against the best opponent they’ve encountered this summer.

“I think we’ll just keep trying to do what we’re doing right now and not worry so much about who we’re playing,” DiLeo said. “We’re trying to be a little more patient in the half-court offense.”

In other league action, Comfort Care/Pelling will battle Vinton Merchants/Culver’s, which will try to end the regular season at 2-2. And Brendan Unkrich’s McCurry’s/BlendCard will take on Cullen Painting/Joensy’s.

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