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7/12/2011: PTL Notebook — Playoff positioning set

Posted on 12. Jul, 2011 by in Iowa Basketball

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By Brendan Stiles

HawkeyeDrive.com

NORTH LIBERTY, Iowa — Since the calendar turned to July, the biggest storyline to emerge in the Prime Time League has been the play of Iowa City Ready Mix/Vinton Merchants.

On Tuesday, Ready Mix/Merchants cruised to its third straight victory, a 99-84 win over McCurry’s/Mike Gatens Real Estate. Not only did it move above .500 with a 4-3 record this summer, but wound up winning a tiebreaker by night’s end which gave Ready Mix/Merchants the No. 2 seed in the PTL playoffs and a first-round bye.

Senior guard Bryce Cartwright once again had a productive evening with 14 points and eight assists, but it has been the progression of freshman forward Gabe Olaseni that has coincided with Ready Mix/Merchants’ winning streak. Olaseni, for the third straight game, scored in double-figures with 14 points, and for the second straight contest, shot 100 percent from the floor, going 5-for-5 on Tuesday.

“My offense is definitely getting better,” Olaseni said. “I’m doing a couple of moves a game and scoring when I have to. It’s getting better.”

In addition to improving as an offensive player, one thing Cartwright has noticed about his Hawkeye and PTL teammate is the growth of Olaseni’s confidence as he sees more action on the court.

“I know when he first came in, he didn’t have the best games by his standards,” Cartwright said. “He has been able to do better, and that’s because he has actually been working at it. I think that’s a sign of progress and a sign of a good player.”

McCurry’s/Gatens fell to 2-5 and will be the No. 6 seed in the playoffs. Junior guard Eric May came away with 24 points, nine rebounds and seven assists to lead the way. Senior foward Andrew Brommer finished with 11 points and four rebounds, while freshman guard Josh Oglesby had five points, nine assists and six rebounds.

Falbo Bros Pizza/Culver’s of Coralville 104, Jill Armstrong of Lepic-Kroeger Realtors 86

After losing two straight contests, Falbo/Culver’s got back on track Tuesday evening by beating Jill Armstrong, 104-86. The victory placed Falbo/Culver’s in a tie for second place with Ready Mix/Merchants, but the former did not win the coin flip used to break the tie and will be the No. 3 seed in the PTL playoffs.

Despite not winning the second-place tiebreaker, senior guard Matt Gatens didn’t seem bothered by having to play an extra game next week.

“It’s going to be good to play rather than sitting around,” Gatens said after calling “heads” only to see the coin land on “tails” when the tiebreaker was being settled.

Gatens bounced back from a 3-of-16 shooting performance on July 10 by going 5-of-9 from the floor Tuesday and finishing with 17 points, nine assists and five rebounds. Freshman forward Aaron White led Falbo/Culver’s in scoring with 20 points and sophomore forward Melsahn Basabe posted a double-double of 12 points and 10 rebounds.

This contest went back-and-forth for a good portion of the first half before a late Falbo/Culver’s run gave it a 58-54 lead at halftime. From the second half on, Jill Armstrong found itself in a hole it couldn’t dig out of.

“We just kept on playing hard, especially defensively,” Gatens said. “We were finishing on the break tonight. The other night, we weren’t finishing on the break, and we just made a lot smarter plays tonight. When you do that, you have a better chance to win.”

In defeat, sophomore forward Zach McCabe finished with 20 points and seven rebounds. Like Falbo/Culver’s, Jill Armstrong also lost a coin flip to settle its fourth-place tie with Monica’s/L.L. Pelling Company and will be the No. 5 seed in the playoffs.

Monica’s/L.L. Pelling Company 87, Coach’s Corner/Two Rivers Bank & Trust 85

The surprise of the evening came from Monica’s/Pelling, who held off a furious second-half rally to edge Corner/Rivers on Tuesday, 87-85. This was the second straight win for Monica’s/Pelling, who moved to 3-4 and will be the No. 4 seed in the PTL playoffs after winning a coin flip with Jill Armstrong.

For the second straight game, sophomore guard Devyn Marble found himself playing a role beyond being a scoring threat. While he finished with 19 points on 9-of-15 shooting, he also had seven rebounds for Monica’s/Pelling and spent a lot of the evening working on how to be a more effective player when he doesn’t have the ball in his hands.

“I may not have been playing as great as I was in the beginning when I was scoring all those points,” Marble said. “But what I’m doing now is I’ve found a way to win. I’m learning how to win.

“Scoring isn’t necessarily everything. You’ve got to find ways to win, even when you’re not scoring. Finding ways to dominate a game without scoring, that’s what I’m trying to do now.”

Senior foward Devon Archie contributed with four points and five rebounds as well for Monica’s/Pelling. Junior guard Anthony Hubbard finished with 27 points and 13 rebounds for Corner/Rivers in defeat.

Although this was the second consecutive loss for Corner/Rivers, it had already secured the league’s top seed and will face the winner of Monica’s/Pelling vs. Jill Armstrong on July 19.

Playoff schedule:

Sunday, July 17:

3 p.m. — No. 3 Falbo Bros Pizza/Culver’s of Coralville (4-3) vs. No. 6 McCurry’s/Mike Gatens Real Estate (2-5)

4:30 p.m. — No. 4 Monica’s/L.L. Pelling Company (3-4) vs. No. 5 Jill Armstrong of Lepic-Kroeger Realtors (3-4)

Tuesday, July 19:

6 p.m. — Falbo/Culver’s-McCurry’s/Gatens winner vs. No. 2 Iowa City Ready Mix/Vinton Merchants (4-3)

7:30 p.m. — Monica’s/Pelling-Jill Armstrong winner vs. No. 1 Coach’s Corner/Two Rivers Bank & Trust (5-2)

Sunday, July 24:

4:30 p.m. — 2011 Prime Time League Championship Game

*All games will be played in the Roberts Gym at the North Liberty Community Center. All times listed are Central Standard (CST).

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