Skyforce Pinch Red Claws and Latch onto Playoff Berth
The Sioux Falls Skyforce qualify for the post season for the first time in four seasons by virtue of downing the Maine Red Claws 104-94 Friday night at the Portland Expo Building.
Not only did Sioux Falls (28-19) make the postseason, but they also reached a high point of the season moving 9 games beyond the .500 mark. The Skyforce broke free with a 16-6 run near the end of the first period and kept a comfortable spread for the rest of the game.
Maine (19-27) had a hard time solving the Skyforce defense, never scoring more than 22 in a quarter until the fourth stanza and shooting under 40 percent for the game. Frank Gaines topped the Red Claws scoring chart with 22 points followed by Abdul Gaddy with 18.
Henry Walker continues his stellar play leading Sioux Falls in scoring for the 9th time this season with 22 points plus 6 rebounds, 4 blocks and 3 steals. Craig Smith posted a double-double of 18 points and 14 rebounds, then DeAndre Liggins served up a well-rounded 11 points, 7 rebounds, 6 assists, 3 steals and a block as the pictures below will attest. Especially be ready for the fancy moves by Liggins near the basket.
With the playoff spot secure, the next goal is favorable positioning. There are three games left and a chance to slide into one of the top four slots by building on a three game win streak. Maine will host the same two teams Sunday in Portland to finish off this two-game series.
BONUS CLIP: Great ball movement at the end of the first quarter gives A. J. Davis a bucket and the Skyforce a 10-point spread.