Big Crowd Sees Sioux Falls Skyforce Handle the Rio Grande Valley Vipers
A crowd of 3,380 filed into the Sanford Pentagon Friday night and saw the Sioux Falls Skyforce outgun the Rio Grande Valley Vipers 127-119.
On a second straight night, the home team had a 14 point lead and gave it up. This time a more aggressive offensive approach in the crucial quarter and measured tactics in the preceding three tipped the balance toward Sioux Falls (23-16). The Thursday night approach was to slow down and melt time away because fatigue was at hand. Coach Pat Delany made a conscious effort going into the Friday night rematch to substitute players a little more efficiently because of the heavy load borne in the double overtime loss. Thus when the game was tied at 100 with 9:14 left, the tank had fuel for the stretch run. Back cuts and fast breaks were available and well-executed on offense plus key defensive stops held the relentless Rio Grande Valley (26-12) attack at bay.
Houston Rockets assignee Robert Covington is a threat from anywhere and seemingly willed the Vipers back during a 14-point outburst in the third quarter. Covington finished with 27 points. The other Viper that confounds opposing defenses is former Los Angeles Clipper Maalik Wayns the shooter/slasher who hit for 24 points.
Henry Walker who is almost two years removed from the NBA grabbed the Alpha role in the scoring column for Sioux Falls with 29 points plus 10 boards. While rookies Larry Drew II (22 points, 12 assists) and A.J. Davis (20 points, 7 rebounds) make noise in the youth movement. For video confirmation of this written account see more in the clip including the elevated status of Anthony Mason, Jr.
Both teams will have Sunday road contests looming with playoff contenders. Rio Grande Valley will roll toward Des Moines to meet the Iowa Energy while Sioux Falls locks horns with the Canton Charge.