Fort Wayne Advances Sweeping Skyforce out of Playoffs
The Fort Wayne Mad Ants continue their late season roll, ending the Sioux Falls Skyforce season 126-118 in Game 2 of the NBA Development League semifinal round.
Compared to Game 1, this contest was a one-sided affair. The single digit final verdict notwithstanding, Fort Wayne (2-0) held a double-digit lead for about 80 percent of the game. The largest lead for the Mad Ants was 79-50 at halftime made possible by advantages taken by 9 Sioux Falls turnovers that led to 20 points for the home team. From there it was catch-up mode for the balance and the visiting Skyforce were unable to break the hold that Fort Wayne keeps at Allen County War Memorial Coliseum. The Mad Ants have not lost at home since January 10.
The Mad Ants haven’t lost at all since March 20 which is a very similar path taken by last year’s champion Rio Grande Valley Vipers who swept their way through the playoffs. One other area of note was the absence of DeAndre Liggins for most of the game. He committed a foul with 3:56 left in the first quarter to get off the court and did not return to action. Picking up the slack for Liggins was Craig Smith who went 9-10 from the floor scoring 20 points with 9 rebounds, Anthony Mason, Jr. with 19 points 8 rebounds and Henry Walker’s 17 points.
Fort Wayne’s top performers included 4 players who put up 20 or more tallies with Ron Howard, the presumptive League MVP leading the parade with 25 points and 11 rebounds. Matt Bouldin (24 points, 8 assists), Tony Mitchell (21 points), and Sadiel Rojas (20 points, 12 rebounds, 4 steals) followed suit delighting the 2,812 in attendance.
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It is the first time in Mad Ants history that the franchise advanced to the Championship round. Their opponent is to be determined as Rio Grande Valley and Santa Cruz are tied at 1 game apiece in their series with Game 3 set for Monday in Texas.
Congratulations to the Sioux Falls Skyforce for a fine season that ended just four wins short of a title.