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Sioux Falls Skyforce Squander Playoff Shot

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(Photo courtesy of Sioux Falls Skyforce)

The shot that rang through Tullio Arena in Erie, Pennsylvania came with 11.6 seconds left.  It came from Terrence Jennings and it propelled the Erie BayHawks to a come-from-behind win over the Maine Red Claws.  From there the door was open for the Sioux Falls Skyforce to waltz into the postseason.  As the Jennings shot went through, it was halftime in Iowa and the Energy led 47-40.  Mission over 24 minutes:  outscore the Energy by 8.  Sioux Falls fell 6 points short of the goal and ended their season with a 109-104 setback.

Iowa (14-36) closed a woeful season strong with three straight wins, two of them over teams with playoff aspirations.  Granted in most every other season wins against Iowa had been hard to obtain.  The Skyforce (25-25) went 3-4 against their now closest rival including 0-3 in Des Moines.  When one more win would have extended the season the team fought back from an 18 point deficit in the 4th quarter to get as close as three points.  A valiant effort will unfortunately be overshadowed by the column in which the game is placed.

Jarvis Varnado will take his talents back to South Beach and join a playoff-bound Miami Heat squad.  The center may make some noise as evidenced with his streak of fantastic games to end his time in the NBA Development League.  Varnado put together 23 points on 10-13 shooting, plus 20 rebounds, 3 blocks, 2 steals and 2 assists.  Mychel Thompson closed with 19 points and 8 assists with Demetris Nichols mustering 14 points for the Skyforce.

The victorious Energy were led by guard Chris Wright with 23 points on the night, Justin Hurtt adding 22 points and a double-double from Augustus Gilchrist of 17 points and 13 rebounds.  The NBADL playoff pairings will be announced Sunday with seeding order as follows:  1) West Division champ Bakersfield, 2) Central Division winner Rio Grande Valley, 3) Santa Cruz, 4) East Division titlist Canton, 5) Fort Wayne, 6) Austin, 7) Tulsa and 8) Maine.  With the three division alignment this year, the division winners choose their first round opponent.  However regular season record determines seeding and home-court advantage against the opponent.


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