It was a roller coaster season that ended abruptly on Monday night in Sioux Falls as the Canton Charge was defeated by the Sioux Falls Skyforce 105-98. It was a year that saw a powerhouse team decimated by injuries and acquisitions but one that showed true character in the players who suited up in the gold jerseys. The 2-1 series win advances Sioux Falls into the semifinals as the Charge ends the year with a 28-22 regular season record that is the second best in franchise history.
The game began with Canton dominating in offense with eight assists on 10 field goals on 19 attempts for 53% shooting. Down by ten, Sioux Falls hit for four to bring themselves up to 27-21 going into the second period.
Sioux Falls continued to pressure hitting the first four points in the second while on their way to an 8-0 run as the score leveled out at 27-25. It was the battle of the boards as four lead changes and four ties marked the waning moments of the half when Antoine Agudio hit a jumper as the Charge squeaked ahead to 47-45 at the half. The second quarter was marked with nine Charge turnovers in the second quarter that resulted in 11 points for the Skyforce.
After the break, Canton came out hot hitting 11-of-17 for 65% with eight assists and outrebounding Sioux Falls 10-1 in the quarter. Three lead changes and three ties saw the score locked at 56-56 when Canton went on a 7-0 tear in just 1:44 to lead 63-56. They managed to roll up an 11 point lead as Sioux Falls ended the third down eight points at 78-70 going into the fourth.
The sixth man joined the fray as the Skyforce home town crowd got vocal as Sioux Falls hit an 8-2 run in the first 1:41 to pull within two points. The teams traded baskets on the next two runs when DeAndre Liggins dropped a three pointer to put Sioux Falls ahead 83-82 as the crowd went wild. This would be the last that Canton would see a lead in the game as Sioux Falls held Canton to 6-of-21 shooting (27%) in the fourth quarter which was a perilous drop from the 55% that had enjoyed up to that point of the game.
Will Cherry led Canton with 21 points on 8-of-13 shooting, 12 assists, six rebounds and two steals in 43 minutes. Antoine Agudio added an all-around effort of 21 points, five boards, five assists, two steals and a block in 46 minutes. Arinze Onuaku posted a double-double of 12 points and 14 rebounds in 35 minutes. Gilbert Brown netted 16 points in 39 minutes, while Shane Edwards scored 13 points with three steals in 35 minutes to round out the Charge starters’ contribution of 85 of the team’s 98 points.
Tre Kelley paced the game’s scoring with 26 points on 10-of-15 shooting with five assists and two steals in 39 minutes. Liggins finished with 19 points, six rebounds, seven assists and five steals in 43 minutes for Sioux Falls. Anthony Mason came off the bench to provide 16 points, five boards, two blocks and two steals in 26 minutes. The Skyforce advance to take on the top overall seeded Fort Wayne Mad Ants.
The 2014 Canton Charge Playoffs are presented by Aultman/AultCare, The Repository and FirstEnergy Solutions. For 2014-15 season ticket, promotions and up-to-date information, head to CantonCharge.com.
Fans can stay up-to-date on team news by following the team at: @CantonCharge on Twitter at www.twitter.com/CantonCharge and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/CantonCharge. Fans can get in the conversation throughout the team’s 2014 postseason run by using #3rdTimestheCharge.