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Mitchell leads Ants to playoffs for 1st time

– scoring a career- and franchise-high 49 points Friday against South Dakota – and the result for the Mad Ants was even bigger.

The Mad Ants clinched their first playoff berth with a 125-112 victory over the Skyforce in South Dakota.

“It’s a big step forward, obviously, for our organization, and we’re very proud of what we’ve done,” said coach Duane Ticknor, whose team joined the D-League in 2007. “We’ve got our sights set on a much higher prize than this. This is the first step. We’re very happy with getting there. I know it means a lot, not just to the owners and Fort Wayne but also to the fans who have been so loyal through the tough times.”

It had already been a groundbreaking season for the Mad Ants (27-22), who had never finished above .500. They finish the regular season today at Tulsa.

Mitchell scored the most points in a D-League game this season.

“It wasn’t a selfish 49,” Ticknor said. “He was making great passes off double teams. It was fun to be part of.”

The fifth-place Mad Ants will find out their first-round opponent Sunday, when division winners select their opponents.

Anthony Harris had 20 points for the Mad Ants. Chris Porter had 19 points and 11 rebounds.

Brandon Wallace had 15 rebounds, as the Mad Ants outrebounded the Skyforce 46-32.

Sioux Falls (25-24) was led by James Mays’ 24 points and 11 rebounds.

Andre Barrett added 20 points and 14 assists.

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