By Brendan Stiles
Tuesday night, there’s more than just a trophy on the line when No. 3 L.L. Pelling Company/Goodfellow Printing and No. 1 Vinton Merchants/Hawkeye Title & Settlement meet in the 2010 Prime Time League championship game.
For the players and coaches, there will be bragging rights.
Last year, the team that won featured one Iowa player — Andrew Brommer. However, Brommer was not available due to injury.
This summer, any of five current Hawkeyes, including two walk-ons, have a chance to win the PTL crown.
Pelling/Goodfellow features four of the five Hawkeyes, with the group led by sophomore Eric May. The Dubuque native went off in a 99-72 semifinal win on July 25 over No. 2 George Etre, Inc./Culver’s of Coralville, scoring 31 points for the second consecutive game. The second half featured May pull off four separate highlight reel dunks late as Pelling/Goodfellow began to pull away.
May looks forward to taking to the North Liberty hardwood one last time this summer before switching his focus back to helping Iowa rebuild.
“It’s just like every other game you come into for Prime Time,” he said. “We’ve been playing really well the last few games. I hope we keep it going.
“You want to win, especially when you’re playing against guys that are your teammates.”
Also on Pelling/Goodfellow are incoming freshman Zach McCabe, and walk-ons Khirey Floyd and Darius Stokes, the son of former Hawkeye great Greg Stokes. McCabe had 13 points and eight rebounds in the victory over Etre/Culver’s.
To get a chance to play for a championship during his first summer in the Prime Time League is something that for McCabe is special.
“I can’t wait,” McCabe said. “I think it will be a lot of fun, and hopefully, we’ll win.”
But the challenge it will be facing in Vinton/Hawkeye, who defeated No. 5 McCurry’s/Mike Gatens Real Estate 94-77 in the other semifinal, is certainly big. While junior Devon Archie (who did not play Sunday) is the team’s lone Hawkeye this summer, Vinton/Hawkeye has championship experience.
Two of its veteran players are former UNI guard Ali Farokhmanesh and former Iowa guard Darryl Moore, both of whom have won previous PTL championships.
“We just got to keep doing what we’ve been doing,” Moore said. “No matter what happens. Just keep doing what we’ve done to get us here.”
These two teams met once previously this summer, back on June 27. In that contest, Vinton/Hawkeye pulled away with a 94-84 win.
Moore likes the make-up of his Vinton/Hawkeye squad this year, one that has a chance to be etched as a PTL champion on Tuesday should it duplicate what it did in its last outing against Pelling/Goodfellow.
“We got a really good team,” Moore said. “We’re solid. We’re very balanced, just as far as the guards up to the big guys, and it’s a very unselfish team.
“I think everybody knows their roles, and we all play our roles really well.”
Tuesday’s game tips off at 6 p.m. inside the New Gym at the North Liberty Community Center. It will carried on radio by KRUI 89.7 FM in Iowa City. Once again, Rob Miller will handle play-by-play duties, with former PTL player Robbie Lehman serving as the color commentator.