It was just one of those games where the basketball did not bounce in favor of the Charge, shots that normally would be an easy two or three points saw the ball bounce harmlessly off the rim. Free throws from our best shooters went awry. Whatever the reason, you had two dominant teams battling it out near the end of the season for a high spot in the upcoming postgame play.
Tuesday evening saw the defeat of the Canton Charge by the Sioux Falls Skyforce, 113-109 at the Canton Memorial Civic Center. The loss puts Canton at 25-16 and a tie for first place in the Eastern Division while Sioux Falls improves to 24-17 as they make a late season push in their division.
The Skyforce took the lead at the end of the first quarter when Larry Drew hit a three-pointer at the buzzer. Sioux Falls then proceeded to dominate for the rest of the game and at times led by as much as seventeen points. Although the Charge managed to get within one possession in the second and third quarters, their 55% shooting was not enough to take the lead.
With 7:54 left in the game and the score 93-86, Canton fought back with a 10-3 run in just 3:36 to tie the game at 96-96. Sioux Falls answered by hitting seven out of eight to seal the deal as the win notched a 2-1 record for the season against the home team. In the loss, the Charge as a team finished 40-of-71 shooting from the floor (56%) and tied their season-high with 27 assists.
Canton was led by Olek Czyz’s 22 points on 9-of-11 shooting with six rebounds, two steals and a block in 34 minutes off the bench. Will Cherry had his second-consecutive game with a double-double in netting 16 points on 7-of-12 shooting with 10 assists, six boards and three steals in 37 minutes. Shane Edwards poured in 21 points in 38 minutes, while Gilbert Brown added 21 points of his own with seven rebounds and a season-high three blocks in 40 minutes.
The Skyforce were paced by Anthony Mason’s 27 points on 11-of-15 shooting with six rebounds and three steals in 40 minutes. Henry Walker scored 23 points and grabbed six boards with two steals in 38 minutes. Tre Kelly sank all five of his three-point attempts, posting 21 points on 6-of-12 shooting overall in 43 minutes. Sioux Falls as a team had a hot night shooting from all over the floor, hitting 39-of-70 attempts from the field overall (56%) and 10-of-18 from three-point range (56%).
HEAD COACH STEVE HETZEL
(On tonight’s game):“I thought it was a little bit of a chaotic game. I didn’t think we started the game well at all. Obviously, when we got down 17, we dug ourselves a huge hole. We were very sloppy with the basketball. Our defense was not as good as it was the (game) before. I thought their intent was much better to start the game than ours was. I thought we were just kind of going through the motions and floating, expecting to win rather than trying to win. We showed great resolve in coming back from down 17, but when you exert all of your energy to take away a deficit like that, you have got little in the tank to finish the game. I thought that’s where we came up short.”
(On the differences down the stretch):“They made shots all night. They shot the ball much better than they did the (game) before. I thought a lot of that was our defensive intent. We weren’t as locked in as the (game) before and I was very disappointed. They went zone versus us to try to give us a different look and I think that it flustered us. We were in a good rhythm, so it was smart play. We had a turnover that led to a fast-break point and we couldn’t get the stops that we needed to go down and take the lead. We were always playing from behind.”
F GILBERT BROWN
(On tonight’s game):“I think getting down 16, 17 points early and having to exert that much energy to fight back wore us out in the end. You could see it on the defensive end with late rotations and some drives and post-ups that we were making early in the third quarter. We were getting stops, but when it came down to late in the fourth quarter, we were just a little burned out. I think we just need to start off playing how we did at the beginning of the third quarter at the end of the game.”
(On having to rotate different players in):“It’s tough, but that’s part of professional basketball. You have to adjust on the fly with two new players coming in and playing with not having that much practice time. That’s just part of the business, but you can’t use that as an excuse. It does present a difficult situation, but we have to overcome that.”
Canton stays at the Memorial Civic Center for a matchup with the Los Angeles D-Fenders on Friday, March 14 at 7:00 p.m. The Charge will wear special white and purple jerseys presented by Longbridge Wealth Advisors that fans can bid on during a live in game auction with all proceeds benefitting the Domestic Violence Project. For tickets, game day promotions and links to live stats and YouTube game streams, head to www.CantonCharge.com.