SIDNEY — Sidney coach John Willoughby said he liked what he saw from Sidney in a season-opening 73-67 loss to Xenia on Tuesday night. The bad news for Willoughby is part of what he saw won’t be on the court for games this weekend.
Sidney travels to Tippecanoe for a Greater Western Ohio Conference American North Division game on Friday and then goes to Wapakoneta on Saturday for a nonconference game.
It will be a busy week for the Yellow Jackets (0-1) as they have two GWOC North games next week. They have a home opener against Troy next Tuesday and then travel to rival Piqua on Friday.
Sidney will be without senior post player Devan Rogers for both games this weekend and could be without junior forward Ratez Roberts for one or both games.
Roberts, who scored 14 points and had six rebounds against Xenia, suffered a minor wrist injury late in the game. Willoughby said on Wednesday he wasn’t sure if Roberts will feel well enough to play in either game.
Rogers will be at Toledo for an official visit and will miss both of Sidney’s games this weekend. Rogers, who was first team all-state in Division II as a defensive lineman, gave a verbal commitment to the Rockets for football last summer. He had four points and nine rebounds on Tuesday.
“It hurts, because he’s a smart player and knows how to play basketball,” Willoughby said. “If Ratez doesn’t come back by the weekend, we’ll have to have some kids off the bench ready to play. We might have to go five guards and get after it. We’ll have to wait and see on that.”
Junior guard Andre Gordon scored 37 points in the game, which is the seventh time in his career he’s scored 30 or more points.
With such a big performance to start the season, Willoughby expects Gordon will attract even more defensive attention than he previously would have.
“It would have helped if Ratez stayed in because he would have had 20 or close to 20 I think, which then makes you think about having to watch that,” Willoughby said. “We made 10 3’s, which isn’t bad. Our strength going in is that we have three guys that can hit stuff from the perimeter, and that will be tested this weekend also.”
Willoughby said he expects guards Josiah Hudgins and Darren Taborn may get more shots as a result of multiple defenders on Gordon. Hudgins scored seven points on Tuesday and Taborn scored five.
Wapakoneta is 1-1 heading into Saturday’s game, and Tippecanoe is 1-0.
“I think they’re going to play zone from the pattern from last year,” Willoughby said of Tippecanoe and Wapakoneta. “They both played zone against us last year. Xenia played zone against us, too. Xenia spreads the zone out a little more. Wapak last year played a pretty tight zone because we were pretty good inside, and then they had somebody on Andre.
“I expect that from both teams this weekend also. They’ll have somebody on Andre and the rest of them packed in.”
Sidney went 13-2 in GWOC American Division play last season. One league loss came at Tippecanoe, and Willoughby said the team is hoping for a better performance in Tipp City this season.
“Tipp has a new coach (Adam Toohey), but I think their game plan is going to be similar,” Willoughby said. “Hopefully we learned last year that we have to be ready to play every night. Every league game, we have to be ready. That goes right in to our slogan this year, play 32.”
Willoughby said the four-game stretch is an opportunity for Sidney to set the tone for the season. To set a good precedent for the rest of the year, Willoughby said they’ll have to play full games.
“We have to make sure we’re playing all 32 minutes of every game instead of taking this game off or five minutes of that game off,” Willoughby said. “For us to be an excellent team — which we can be — we have to be ready to play every game and play 32 minutes.”
Sidney lost to Wapakoneta by 19 points last season.
Contact Bryant Billing at (937) 538-4818, or follow @SidneyOHSports on Twitter.
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