Lightning need a win to get back home

The Rockford Lightning need to win at least one of three games in Bismarck, N.D., this week to force their CBA playoff series with the top-seeded Dakota Wizards back to Rockford.

Game one of the best-of-five series was Tuesday night. Other games:

Tonight (Wednesday), Rockford at Dakota; Sunday, Rockford at Dakota; March 17, Dakota at Rockford, 7:05 p.m. (if necessary); March 18, Dakota at Rockford, 7:05 (if necessary). The Lightning must win at least one to get a game in front of Rockford fans.

Rockford lost its regular-season finale 106-103 in overtime at Gary, Ind., but still made the CBA playoffs for the 11th straight season—and Ronnie Fields became the team’s all-time leading scorer.

The Gary Steelheads finished third in the standings while Rockford wound up fourth, the final playoff spot. By earning 1.5 quarter-points in the loss, the Lightning edged the Sioux Falls Skyforce in total quarter-points 171.5 to 169.5.

Fields, who needed 14 points to pass Fred Cofield as the Lightning’s career scoring leader, finished with 25 for 3,210 points compared to Cofield’s 3,198. Fields has played 186 regular-season games and 10 playoff contests for Rockford.

The Lightning posted a 25-23 regular-season mark while Gary finished 27-21. Rockford closed out the home portion of its regular-season schedule last week with a 121-90 victory over the Yakima Sun Kings before 5,531 fans—biggest crowd of the season—at the MetroCentre.

Forward Cypheus Bunton is out six to eight months with a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee. He averaged 3.7 points and 4.3 rebounds in 47 games this season.

And 6-foot-7 forward Desmond Ferguson is with the team. He averaged 23.1 points in 47 CBA games the past two seasons, and is replacing forward Linton Johnson, who was re-signed by the Chicago Bulls.

Ferguson is eligible for the playoffs, and coach Chris Daleo said he will place Johnson on the playoff roster in case the Bulls don’t renew his 10-day contract.

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