Skyforce Stampede Charge in Final Five Minutes to Snare Another Win
In a tale of two halves, the Sioux Falls Skyforce had a better second half to rocket past the Canton Charge 99-93 on Saturday night at the Canton Memorial Civic Center.
The seven-game Canton (12-12) win streak was extinguished in the process despite a strong second quarter that carried over into the early stages of the third period. Sioux Falls (21-4) completed a weekend road sweep that began the night before in Grand Rapids.
In that aforementioned second frame, Canton shot 11-19 from the floor, 8-9 from the line and committed only two turnovers. The visitors shot a chilly 6-20, were 6-12 from the line while giving it up 5 times.
Money time came and the final 6 minutes unleashed the collective efforts of an elite squad. Briante Weber took an outlet off a made basket and outraced four defenders for a layup. Rodney McGruder led the fast break on another in close after a defensive stop. A missed three by the Charge led to a Tre Kelley to Keith Benson pick and roll. Canton then committed a 24 second violation that needed an official’s review to confirm.
Bubu Palo missed an aggressive take to the basket, but Byron Mullens put it back in to finish the possession. Canton tried again from long range and missed with and after an offensive rebound by Benson, Palo got a shooter’s roll in the lane. A Skyforce steal led to another Kelley to Benson connection and one. That is how you turn a game around from down nine to up four. Tough defense supported by a hot streak (8-11 from the floor) featuring multiple contributions made the difference.
All five Sioux Falls starters carved out their niche starting with Palo (19 points, 8 rebounds), Kelley (18 points), Benson (18 points, 12 rebounds), McGruder (12 points, 9 rebounds) and Mullens (11 points, 12 rebounds). Weber added 11 points off the bench as well. High man for Canton was Nick Minnerath with 20 points and 9 rebounds followed by Jorge Gutierrez with 16 points and 7 assists.
Sioux Falls will get a break from game action with a weekend set upcoming starting Friday with Westchester. Canton returns to the court Tuesday at Delaware to start a six game road swing.