Skyforce Snatch Spot in Title Chase with Drubbing of Drive
It was more than just a win as the Sioux Falls Skyforce locked in a playoff spot after dispatching the Grand Rapids Drive 118-85 Friday night at the Sanford Pentagon.
Only four Eastern Conference teams make the playoffs and with Grand Rapids (18-20) currently ranked number five the math is simple. Grand Rapids cannot overtake Sioux Falls (30-8) even if the Drive win their next twelve and the Skyforce lose twelve straight. The Skyforce own the tiebreaker by winning the season series. Grand Rapids is still in the hunt for the post season but are four games behind Westchester.
Assertion came at the outset of this one as Sioux Falls scored 10 straight to make it 21-8 and the lead gradually grew throughout eventually peaking at 109-72 midway through the fourth quarter. Jarnell Stokes returned to Sioux Falls to pace the early part of the process and finished with 20 points in only 19 minutes. Keith Benson was part two in the pivot producing 17 points, 13 rebounds and 4 blocks.
Briante Weber (22 points, 10 rebounds, 6 assists) and Rodney McGruder (22 points, 6 assists) tied for the lead in overall point production. McGruder says the success against the Drive was aided by practice habits leading up to the contest.
“I think it was all preparation coming into tonight’s game. We had three good practices and a great shoot around this morning. Late in the season it’s crucial that we take advantage of our practices.”
With the return of Jarnell Stokes Coach Dan Craig was pleased with his efficiency. “I thought he came out and competed hard. He hasn’t played a game in a couple of weeks. It was good for him to get out there for 20 minutes and to get game reps.”
For Grand Rapids, having Lorenzo Brown back on the court for his second contest since suffering a foot injury helped soothe the sting. He finished with 22 points with Devin Ebanks next with 19 points with Henry Sims providing 11 points and 12 rebounds. Game two of the weekend series is Saturday night.