Skyforce Shake off Shooting Woes to Overtake BayHawks
With a full dose of defensive determination, Sioux Falls erased a huge deficit in the fourth quarter to seize a road win over Erie 85-83 Saturday night.
Both teams were coming off 4-point losses as the BayHawks fell in overtime to Grand Rapids and the Skyforce were scuttled at Westchester. However this game marked the final tussle until after next week’s All-Star game for the visitors. That’s eleven days to stew if you lose. A bit of solace for Erie remains with one chance for redemption before their rest period with a game on Wednesday at Grand Rapids.
Being the top defensive team in the NBADL, Sioux Falls (23-7) had to lean hard on that aspect to have any chance at the win. Throughout the season, Erie (11-19) has struggled offensively.
Those two worlds collided in the fourth quarter which began with the BayHawks leading 72-56. Eight minutes later Sioux Falls held a 77-74 edge. Erie shot 1 of 16 during that dry spell with no free throws as a team, but give the BayHawks credit as they hit three straight three point baskets to retake the lead 83-79 with 1:21 left.
In response, Jarnell Stokes rose to the occasion by scoring the next two buckets to tie and Bubu Palo drove the lane for the go-ahead score. With four seconds left, Erie had a chance to tie or win. Fittingly, the defense proved decisive as Jabril Trawick swiped the ball and the threat was neutralized.
Overall for Stokes his 23 points on 11 of 16 shooting and 14 rebounds proved invaluable. Palo was not as prolific with 12 points, but a perfect 6 of 6 from the free throw line was noteworthy.
Despite only scoring 83 points, five BayHawks made it to double figures. Jordan Sibert topped the list with 15 and double doubles came from Alex Davis (13 points, 14 rebounds, 3 blocks) and Melvin Ejim (12 points, 11 boards).
Keith Benson, Tre Kelley and Stokes along with the Skyforce coaching staff will perform various duties at the NBADL All-Star game on February 13. The entire team will reassemble on Wednesday February 17 at Grand Rapids.