Skyforce Earn Division Title and NBADL Playoff Top Seed
For the first time this season the home team emerged victorious in the series as the Sioux Falls Skyforce dumped Canton 113-93 Friday night at the Sanford Pentagon.
Earning more than just a win, Sioux Falls (35-8) also wrapped up the Central Division title and home-court advantage throughout the NBADL playoffs. As to the Division, that was squarely dependent on the outcome in Sioux Falls. A win over Canton (28-16) in either game this weekend would mean the best the teams could do is tie and the Skyforce would own the tiebreaker. The home-court advantage turns out to be a bonus courtesy of the Iowa Energy knocking off Maine earlier in the evening.
The margin of victory Friday night also should raise eyebrows based on the Charge’s success in 2016. In twenty-eight games this calendar year, Canton is 24-5 with two of those losses against Sioux Falls. However these two teams will meet again on Saturday night which could prove to be more of a true measure of how the two teams are matched.
An opening bucket and one by John Holland who led Canton with 20 points was countered by an 8-0 Sioux Falls run that changed the lead for the only time in the contest. Late in the first quarter the Skyforce built a double digit lead that never slipped below 11 points the rest of the way.
Holding Canton to 39 percent shooting took a lot of work with DeAndre Liggins spelling out the defensive roadmap to success. “Our plan was to trap the ball in certain spots. They have shorter guards with Quinn (Cook) and (Michael) Stockton. We wanted to shrink the court and get them from behind.”
Liggins was also the spark plug on offense scoring a season high 26 points with 6 buckets from downtown with 11 assists. Six other players scored 10 or more including Keith Benson (16 points, 8 rebounds) Jarnell Stokes (16 points, 9 rebounds), Rodney McGruder (16 points, 8 rebounds) and a double-double for Greg Whittington (12 points, 11 rebounds).
Skyforce Coach Dan Craig fully expects to see a different set of circumstances tomorrow night. “That’s a well-coached team. That’s a very good team on both ends of the court. To hold a team that’s been playing that well under 40 percent (shooting) and 18 percent from three, I was happy with the defense.”
The Charge’s Nick Minnerath got his own double-double of 18 points and 10 rebounds. Quinn Cook who has been nursing a shoulder injury, but is still a top D-League prospect finished with 15 points.