Two division leaders on short rest fought through fatigue but produced a stirring contest with the Sioux Falls Skyforce able to edge the Austin Spurs 107-99 at the Sanford Pentagon.

Saturday night both teams were fighting their own battles in different locations. Sioux Falls (34-8) bested the Mad Ants in Fort Wayne and needed just over 700 miles to return home for the Monday night clash. Meanwhile Austin (25-16) had their hands full against the Idaho Stampede in Boise about 1300 miles to the west.

Other than a few more turnovers than normal, these two teams showed their worthiness of the late-season tussle. Each team had their time on top of the scoreboard, but a 15-2 Skyforce run late in the third quarter broke a 69-69 tie which Austin could only whittle down to three points in the fourth.

Coach Dan Craig used his starters for heavy minutes in the second half because they helped build that 13-point lead and played well enough to maintain the advantage.

“Some of our starters had great games. We had a nice little run there in the third quarter and they were able to weather the storm together. I went with the starters a little longer than I usually do, but they produced.”

Every starter finished in double figure points led by forward Jarnell Stokes (highlights included below) with 29 points and 12 rebounds while feeling that both teams played with urgency.

“It had one of those championship feels. Today was one of those grimy type of wins that was more about our energy. I don’t think I did anything special to get 29 points other than bring the energy.”

Bubu Palo had 20 points, Greg Whittington added 19 points, 7 rebounds and a season high 6 steals plus Keith Benson impacted the game off the bench by swatting 6 shots in 15 minutes of action.

The Spurs' main man was Cady Lalanne with 24 points and 9 boards with some support from Brandon Fields (19 points) Nick Johnson (15 points, 8 assists) and Keifer Sykes (15 points).

Sioux Falls will play Friday and Saturday at home against the Canton Charge while Austin will face Rio Grande Valley on Thursday.


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