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PTL playoffs preview: 7/22/2012 (Semifinals)

Posted on 21. Jul, 2012 by in Iowa Basketball

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By Brendan Stiles

HawkeyeDrive.com

After a month of play, the Prime Time League’s playoffs start Sunday with a pair of semifinal games. Both contests are rematches of contests that were played on June 24. The two Sunday winners will meet in the PTL championship game, which is set for 9 p.m. Central on July 24. All three playoff games this week will be televised locally by Mediacom Connections.

Here’s a rundown of what Iowa basketball fans can expect Sunday afternoon inside the Jones Gym at the North Liberty Community Center:

No. 1 Vinton Merchants/Mike Gatens Real Estate (4-1) vs. No. 4 Culver’s/Iowa City Ready Mix (0-5), 3 p.m.

The first semifinal features the league’s top seed against the lone squad without a victory this summer. Merchants/Gatens secured the No. 1 seed last week with a 92-82 win over L.L. Pelling Company/McCurry’s and enters this contest on a two-game winning streak. Meanwhile, Culver’s/Ready Mix fell to 0-5 following a 103-96 loss last week to Jill Armstrong of Skogman Realty.

Both squads feature a quartet of current Hawkeye players. Merchants/Gatens features the PTL’s top draft pick in incoming transfer Jarrod Uthoff along with junior forward Zach McCabe, incoming freshman center Adam Woodbury and sophomore guard Josh Oglesby. Culver’s/Ready Mix is led by sophomore forward Aaron White and also features senior forward Eric May, incoming freshman guard Anthony Clemmons and incoming freshman forward Kyle Meyer.

In last week’s win over Pelling/McCurry’s, Merchants/Gatens had double-figure scoring performances from all four of its Iowa players. McCabe finished with 18 points, nine rebounds and seven assists, while Uthoff recorded a double-double of 16 points and 10 rebounds. McCabe is among four current Hawkeye players in this year’s league who have won the PTL championship, doing so two years ago.

While Culver’s/Ready Mix hasn’t won a single game yet this summer, two of its Iowa guys have won the league in prior summers. May played alongside McCabe on the team that won in 2010, while White scored game-winning bucket as time expired in last year’s title game. Last week, both White and May recorded double-doubles — White with 27 points and 13 rebounds, May with 12 points and 18 rebounds — and Culver’s/Ready Mix also got a 20-point outing from Clemmons.

Merchants/Gatens defeated Culver’s/Ready Mix 103-92 the one time these teams met this summer. In that game, McCabe led the way for Merchants/Gatens with 22 points and 10 rebounds. Woodbury also had a double-double with 10 points and 11 rebounds. This was also the only game this summer where White didn’t record a double-double, finishing with 22 points and seven rebounds for Culver’s/Ready Mix.

No. 2 L.L. Pelling Company/McCurry’s (3-2) vs. No. 3 Jill Armstrong of Skogman Realty (3-2), 4:30 p.m.

Although Armstrong/Skogman won 106-98 in the lone meeting between these teams, Pelling/McCurry’s won the seeding tiebreaker via coin flip following last week’s games. Pelling/McCurry’s saw a two-game winning streak snapped at the hands of Merchants/Gatens, while Armstrong/Skogman looks to build off its win over Culver’s/Ready Mix.

This game features six players with Iowa connections — five current Hawkeyes and former Iowa center Jarryd Cole, who had a team-high 24 points along with eight rebounds last week for Armstrong/Skogman. Playing alongside Cole are incoming freshman guard Mike Gesell, junior forward Melsahn Basabe and sophomore forward Darius Stokes.

Gesell is coming off his second consecutive double-double of the summer after finishing with 20 points and 11 assists last week against Culver’s/Ready Mix. Basabe also had a double-double of 22 points and 11 rebounds and Stokes put up his best numbers of the summer in the win, scoring nine points and pulling down six rebounds. Basabe will be gunning for his second straight PTL title after playing alongside White on last year’s championship team.

Meanwhile, the duo of Hawkeyes featured on Pelling/McCurry’s are junior guard Devyn Marble and sophomore forward Gabe Olaseni. Last week against Merchants/Gatens, Marble scored a team-high 24 points and Olaseni finished with a stat line that included 12 points and six rebounds. Neither player has appeared in a prior PTL championship game.

In the head-to-head match-up won by Armstrong/Skogman four weeks ago, Cole and Basabe both compiled big-time numbers. Cole finished with 32 points and 11 rebounds while Basabe put together a double-double of 29 points and 14 rebounds. This game was also Marble’s highest-scoring output of the summer, as he finished with 34 points on 12-of-19 shooting from the floor.

*Be sure to visit HawkeyeDrive.com following Sunday’s action at the North Liberty Community Center for ongoing coverage of the Prime Time League this summer.*

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