Alexander's late heroics seal deal

BY CHARLIE GREEN | JULY 27, 2015 5:00 AM

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When Wyatt Lohaus knocked down a 3-pointer with 4.5 seconds left, the Prime Time League semifinal matchup between Dan Ahrens’ Jill Armstrong  and Ray Swetalla’s Linn County Anesthesiologists looked destined for an overtime finish.

Dondre Alexander had other ideas.

“I was planning on trying to get a lay-up, trying to get to the basket,” Alexander said. “But I kind of fumbled the ball a little bit, and I just had to get a shot off. It felt good leaving my hands.”

He lost control of the ball as he drove to the rim, but gathered himself and delivered a fad-away, high-arching jumper that fell through as the buzzer sounded.

As ball hung in the air, it was accompanied by a long silence, which quickly turned into an explosion from the crowd as Alexander sent his team to the championship in one shot.

“That’s Dondre,” Ahrens said. “He makes five plays a game that make you go ‘Oh my God.’ He’s worth coming to watch.”

Alexander finished with 22 points, including 6-of-9 shooting on 3-pointers. Iowa center Adam Woodbury added 29 points on 12-of-20 shooting and pulled down 12 rebounds.

The teams exchanged leads throughout the game, and missed free throws from Ahrens’ squad in the final minutes gave Swetalla’s team the opportunity to extend the action into extra time.

Northern Iowa’s Lohaus used a screen to create space and fired the shot over the outstretched arms of a taller defender — momentarily keeping his team’s season alive.

Lohaus finished with 28 points and 12 rebounds. Iowa guard Peter Jok added 25 and 8.

“We can’t really be upset with that last shot,” Lohaus said. “I know it went in, but I thought we guarded it as well as we could.

“We had three guys on him, and he just hit a tough, one-foot fadeaway. That’s how basketball is. I’m just happy we had an opportunity to win the game.”

In the second semifinal game of the afternoon, Jarrod Uthoff and Randy Larson’s Westport/Beat the Bookstore sent home Jess Settles’ Marion Iron behind a stifling defensive performance.

Incoming Iowa freshman Andrew Fleming, one of the league’s top scorers coming in, recorded 16 points on 5-of-18 shooting. Uthoff’s length on the perimeter kept him from getting into rhythm, as he often resorted to pulling up from a few feet beyond the 3-point line to give himself room.

“They’re a fairly small team, and their centers aren’t a big part of their scoring attack, so where do you stop them?” Larson said. “I thought it was staying at on [Matt] Gatens, and then it’s about stopping Fleming.”

Uthoff also added 23 points, mostly from inside. Iowa’s Dom Uhl led the team with 26 and shot 3-of-4 from beyond the arc.

The win puts Larson’s group into the championship game against the top-seeded Ahrens’ squad on Thursday.

“We just need to play hard and get on the boards,” Uhl said. “We know they have Woody; we just need to box him out and guard Dondre.”

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