Skyforce Heat Up In Westchester

Sioux Falls Wins 109-99

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The Westchester Knicks (8-19) fell to the Sioux Falls Skyforce (16-11), the NBADL affiliate of the Miami Heat, 109-99 in the first game of a back-to-back weekend match-up.

The Skyforce started out hot, going on a 12 point run early in the quarter. With only three points on the board from an Andre Barrett long shot, Westchester was unable to light up the boards again until Cleanthony Early, on assignment from the New York Knicks, sank a shot from beyond the arc with 7:18 on the clock. With Sioux Falls leading the entire quarter, Westchester was able to sneak back within three points from sharp shooting off the bench, the score 25-22. Twenty of Sioux Falls’ points in the first came in the paint.

The Knicks struggled to find their shots in the second, shooting just 36 percent to Sioux Falls’ 65 percent. Adding to their second quarter troubles, Westchester was only able to convert on 4-of-8 from behind the line. A quarter that would haunt the Knicks for the entire game, the Skyforce would take the second and the half, leading Westchester 59-44.

Westchester found their groove again in the third, winning the quarter 26-25. Sioux Falls was only 3-for-8 from far out; 8-for-17 in all scoring attempts. The Knicks came within three points with 5:23 on the clock off a jump shot from Early but were unable to squeak out the lead with the Skyforce on top for the entire quarter.

Heading into the final twelve minutes, Sioux Falls stayed on top over the Knicks, the score 84-70.

A fiery Antetokounmpo stole the show in the fourth, beginning with a monster block off a Palo Bubu shot attempt. Showboating after a monster dunk would cost him though as he was charged with a technical foul after hanging ten on the rim. He would end the quarter with 11 points, but made just 1-of-5 free throw attempts; he was 3-12 on the night from the line.

Despite outshooting the Skyforce 31-25 in the final quarter, the Knicks were unable to make a comeback from a wobbly first half. A Cleanthony Early dunk with 14.9 seconds on the clock impressed, but was futile in the game’s impending outcome.

As a team, Westchester connected on just 15-of-28 free throw attempts, leaving 13 points on the table. Neither team made headlines from beyond the arc on the scorebook but Sioux Falls made shots when they counted, keeping the momentum in their favor.

Both teams had 50 points in the paint, the Knicks with the edge on second chance points with 17 on the night. But Sioux Falls would outshoot Westchester 52 percent to 44 percent, sealing the deal for the win.

On assignment from the New York Knicks, Cleanthony Early led Westchester with a double-double, recording 20 points, 10 rebounds, and two steals. Defensive power Thanasis Antetokounmpo contributed 19 points, adding four rebounds and two blocked shots. Darnell Jackson had the Knicks’ other double-double with 13 points and 10 rebounds.

Skyforce forward Scotty Hopson scored a game-high 24 points, adding nine rebounds and three assists. Center Shawn Jones posted a double-double, contributing 16 points and 12 rebounds. Forward Henry Walker netted 17 points, also supplying four rebounds and a blocked shot. Six total Sioux Falls players found double digits.

The Westchester Knicks return to the Westchester County Center for part two of a back-to-back contest with the Sioux Falls Skyforce tomorrow, Jan. 31 at 7:00 p.m.