Originally posted on isportsweb.com  |  Last updated 7/16/13
Last Sunday night capped the opening round of the Prime Time League playoffs with Devyn Marble and Mike Gesell’s teams advancing to the next round. The No. 1 and 2 seeds each had a bye in the first round and they’ll look to continue their summer dominance. Here is a preview of Thursday night’s postseason contests at the North Liberty Community Center. No. 1 seed L.L. Pelling/Hawkeyereport.com vs. No. 5 seed Greater Iowa Financial Group/Vinton Merchants The opening second round playoff game will showcase a battle between the Prime Time League’s best team versus the league’s best player at 6pm in Jones Gym. The contest will be a matchup of contrasting styles. Coach Kevin Lehman’s squad features a dominant post presence in Black and Gold sophomore Gabe Olaseni while Coach Kevin Sanders’ team relies on a lethal perimeter attack, led by Iowa star Devyn Marble. Hawkeyes Gabe Olaseni and Zach McCabe have led their team to an undefeated mark behind their dominant interior play. Olaseni has been a monster on both ends of the court, emphatically throwing down game altering dunks while protecting the basket at all costs. McCabe compliments the junior’s interior dominance with a versatile inside out game. The senior is averaging a double-double this summer, scoring 22 points while pulling down 11.67 rebounds per contest, in addition to converting 54% of his attempts from behind the arc. Marble’s team struggled during his and Josh Oglesby’s absences, but they seem to be finding a rhythm with them back in the lineup. The perimeter duo will try to spread the floor in attempt to lure Olaseni and McCabe away from the paint. Marble has been the floor general for Sanders squad, averaging 29.6 points, 6.6 rebounds, and 6.8 assists in five games of action this summer. Oglesby returned from injury in thrilling fashion, draining 7-of-11 three point attempts in his first game back. But he cooled off the next two games only making 3-of-14 from three point range. Josiah Coleman could be the x-factor on Thursday night. He carried the scoring load for his team in the first round when Marble and Oglesby were struggling to find their shots. If he can have similar production, that would give Sanders’ a legitimate three man attack on the perimeter capable of taking down the league’s top team. No. 2 Seed Blendcard vs. No. 3 Seed Jill Armstrong of Skogman Realty The second part of Thursday night’s playoff action will be highlighted by a matchup of Iowa point guards. Anthony Clemmons leads Coach Randy Larson’s 5-1 team against Mike Gesell’s 4-3 squad at 7:30 in Jones gym.  Clemmons and company won the first contest 115-100 behind 81 combined points from Clemmons, Dondre Alexander, and Jared Uthoff. Gesell tallied 21 points and 15 assists in the losing effort, while Clemmons had 25 points, 8 rebounds, and 7 assists. Coach Dan Ahrens’ lineup has struggled to give Gesell consistent scoring support. The sophomore point guard is putting up huge numbers this summer, ranking in the top five in scoring and assists averaging 26.3 points and 11.9 assists per game. The problem is Ahren’s roster lacks a potent scorer aside from Gesell. Both William Penn product Keith Steffeck and future Iowa walk-on OK Ukah have flashed glimpses of potential, but neither player has consistently produced in a secondary scoring role. Meanwhile scoring hasn’t been a problem for the opposition. Alexander, Clemmons, and Uthoff have been the driving forces behind their team’s strong start, collectively putting up 67.2 points per game. At times, the Prime Time League’s version of the “Big Three” has been outright dominant this summer. This game should be an up and down contest since both teams like to push the pace of play. An up-tempo game should be expected, although, this one could be a one-sided affair. Clemmons and Gesell will seemingly cancel each other out in their one on one dual. With that in mind, Larson’s roster clearly has a better supporting cast. Uthoff’s versatility will create defensive problems for Ukah on the perimeter while Alexander’s quickness and athleticism could be too much for Steffeck to handle. Larson’s team has the scoring punch that Ahrens’ lacks, making them the favorites.

This article first appeared on isportsweb.com and was syndicated with permission.

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