Sioux Falls Skyforce Pick up Where Last Season Left off with Opening Night Win
Two celebrations took place at the Sanford Pentagon Saturday night. The Sioux Falls Skyforce wrote the postscript on last year’s title team then beat the Salt Lake City Stars 117-100.
New banners now hang on the east end of Heritage Court depicting the two CBA titles earned in 1996 and 2005 plus the most recent edition from last April. Video messages from two coaches who helped lead that team, Dan Craig and Octavio De La Grana who are now in Miami and current Heat player Rodney McGruder, were played prior to the ceremony.
A sluggish start by both teams preceded a 10-0 run bridging the first and second quarters by the Skyforce (1-0) that coach Nevada Smith credited to making the Stars (0-1) work on offense.
“Defensively in the first half we were really locked in. We were causing them to make turnovers, did a great job on the ball making them start their offense (farther from the basket) and did a great job on the glass when they played three bigs and we only gave up two offensive rebounds in the first half.”
Jabril Trawick was also in tune to the size differential when he drew the assignment of defending Henry Sims who is 5 inches taller.
“The coaches have a lot of confidence in me guarding 1-5. Even though I may be a guard, I have a lot of confidence in guarding every position. When (Coach Smith) told me to guard Henry it’s something normal to me.”
Keith Benson led the ‘Force with 22 points, 12 rebounds and 5 blocks with Trawick adding 19 points off the bench. Briante Weber added a triple double with 14 points, 10 assists and 10 rebounds, his second with Sioux Falls. One of those assists makes the highlight reel which you can see below.
For Salt Lake City (formerly the Idaho Stampede) Sims led all scorers with 30 points plus 8 rebounds. The Stars will play at Oklahoma City Tuesday while Sioux Falls will wait for Delaware to arrive on Friday.