Skyforce Set New Standard with Triumph over Iowa Energy
A record was meant to be broken Tuesday night as the Sioux Falls Skyforce defeated the Iowa Energy 125-107 and set the NBADL all-time mark for wins in a season.
Iowa (24-24) came to the Sanford Pentagon sporting the longest current winning streak in the NBADL. If not for a Saturday stumble at Delaware, the Skyforce would have been the one boasting the mightier run in the win column.
A lineup shift putting the Energy’s 5 best players on the floor regardless of size recharged the team over the past three weeks. As a result, their run gave them a sliver of daylight toward a playoff berth.
Sioux Falls (39-9) snuffed out those postseason aspirations with an astounding shooting performance in the second half. The Skyforce missed only 9 shots from the floor after intermission (25-34 for 74 percent) plus went 7-8 from downtown.
Iowa’s smaller lineup allowed Coach Dan Craig to counter with size with Keith Benson being a huge factor.
“We were playing two bigs (Benson and Jarnell Stokes) at the time and they adjusted to us. They went big instead of staying small and that really changed the dynamic of the game.”
Stokes (23 points, 7 rebounds) has been a big part of this season’s success and says the team was determined to set the wins record.
“Going into this game there was no way we were going to let the record slip (away) like it did last game (in Delaware). We felt like we had a lot of energy coming into the game and surprisingly we came out flat. We were able to answer in the second half as we got into our tendencies as far as defense. On offense we got good post-ups, dribble-drives and hit some lucky threes.”
DeAndre Liggins scored 20 of his 23 in that deciding second half with 10 assists. Rodney McGruder scored 21 and Benson collected 16 points, 10 rebounds, 4 steals and 3 blocks.
For the Energy, Ramon Harris led the way with 23 points with James Ennis adding 21 points. These two teams will meet one more time on Thursday in Des Moines to finish off the season series.