Tre Kelley Bombs Tulsa with Crucial Buckets in Skyforce Overtime Win
Good thing there’s an encore because Tre Kelley’s command performance capped the regular season in a 107-105 overtime Skyforce win over the Tulsa 66ers Saturday night at the Sanford Pentagon.
The playoffs are next and the Skyforce (31-19) roll toward the postseason with a 6-game win streak. As a bonus, Sioux Falls earned the 4th seed in the playoffs by virtue of the win over Tulsa (24-26) and a loss by Rio Grande Valley to the Austin Toros. That could bode well for the Skyforce who rolled through their first season amid new surroundings with a 19-5 record.
As to Tre Kelley’s heroics 31 points embodied the total of his efforts. The last two shots he took were absolutely necessary. Trailing 105-101 with 43 seconds left, Kelley struck with a 25 footer to shave the deficit to one. After a Henry Walker steal, Kelley scored the final points of the game with another long range bomb. It was scintillating. For the fine details, you must view the clip.
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The steal that set up the crushing blow was Henry Walker’s third of the night to go with 21 points, 10 rebounds, 3 assists and 2 blocks. Larry Drew was the one who set up Kelley’s overtime magic and finished with 8 assists to go with 12 points, 5 rebounds and 4 steals. “It was a gritty win. We didn’t play for the score. We just played every possession like it was the last.” Craig Smith who came up with the big offensive night against Texas in the previous game sealed the game with a defensive stand to draw an offensive foul with four seconds left. Drew recognized the significance of Smith’s deed. “That one play right there put us over the hump. We fought so hard to get there. He’s a veteran player and he’s expected to make big time plays for us.”
Counterbalancing the high experienced by the home team, was the bitterness in Tulsa’s camp. The “hump” referenced by Drew consisted of a double digit lead that Tulsa owned for much of the game. The 66ers scored the first bucket of the fourth quarter to take a 14-point advantage. Eighteen straight for Sioux Falls flipped the contest on its ear. Tulsa rallied from 6 points down to send the game to overtime on a clutch Dominic McGuire 3 pointer. McGuire finished with 28 points and 17 rebounds, but if not for a 2-13 start to the season Tulsa could have been a contender.
The playoff picture will narrow into sharp focus on Sunday afternoon as the top three teams choose their dancing partner with the Skyforce to tango with whoever is left. Rest assured no one will waltz through this postseason.