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Prime Time picture clearer

BY KYLE MANN | JULY 16, 2015 5:00 AM

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The end of the Prime Time League regular season will take place in Waterloo this evening, featuring exciting matchups with a lot on the line as the playoff picture becomes clearer.

Similar to the head-to-head battle earlier in the summer between Mike Gesell and Anthony Clemmons, Northern Iowa guards Wes Washpun and Wyatt Lohaus will collide at 6 p.m.

Ray Swetalla’s Linn County Anesthesiologists, featuring Lohaus, Ted Friedman, and Peter Jok, once looked like one of the best teams in the league, but it enters this matchup coming off a loss. The team will be tested mightily this week, as Washpun and Jess Settles’ Marion Iron are likely the favorite leading into the playoffs.

Washpun is the lead guard, but Iowa freshman Andrew Fleming has torched defenders for the last month. And with Brady Ellingson and Matt Gatens also on the perimeter, no team has a larger collection of dangerous shooters.

Settles’ squad is 4-1 as a result, and other coaches don’t want to have to match up with it.

“Coach Settles’ team is probably the most talented,” coach Dan Ahrens of the Jill Armstrong Team said. “And Gatens wasn’t even there when we played them.”

Gatens has been a valuable veteran presence for the pair of young Iowa guards, and he has spoke highly of Fleming all summer. The 6-4 shooting guard has shot well since the first week, but in recent games, he has shown another level of aggression and confidence as an all-around scorer.

Fleming was the leading force in his team’s 105-86 victory over Brendan Unkrich’s Pelling/Comfort Care last week, and opposing coaches have been nothing but impressed and laud the Hawkeye staff for appearing to have snagged a gem.

“[Fleming] is the type of kid that his life revolves around basketball and had competitive fire since he was a kid,” Unkrich said after his team’s loss. “He plays both ends, too. I wish he was 6-6, but then he wouldn’t be at Iowa. [Hawkeye assistant coach] Andrew Francis got a good one.”

Also at 6 p.m., Jarrod Uthoff, Dom Uhl, and Northern Iowa’s Aarias Austin of Randy Larson’s Westport/Beat the Bookstore will take on Anthony Clemmons, Nick Baer, and Jeremy Morgan of Ron Nove’s Culver’s/Vinton Merchants.

Austin obviously plays for this team, but he was an emergency substitute for Kevin Sanders’ BlendCard/McCurry’s last week and broke out for one of the better scoring performances of the entire summer. He notched 37 points and had 8 assists in a 116-96 loss to, you guessed it, Nove’s team.

The nightcap in the Cedar Valley SportsPlex will feature Sanders’ squad and Unkrich’s  team.
Northern Iowa’s Paul Jesperson of Sanders’ team should impress his home fans, but he, Dale Jones, and Brandon Hutton could fall victim to another young player who broke out last week.

Iowa freshman guard Christian Williams scored 26 points last week for Unkrich, and he showed flashes of excellence leading the fast break, which had previously been carried by Gesell and Matt Bohannon. If Williams shows the same assertiveness, this becomes another dangerous team in the postseason.

Unfortunately for his opponents, he’s getting comfortable.

“I’m starting to do what I do,” he said.


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