SIDNEY — Sidney’s senior night against Vandalia-Butler on Wednesday went much like the rest of the games the team has played this season. But though it was one of several lopsided losses, the team is all about small growths according to first-year coach Lauren Stefancin.
Some of those small growths were apparent in a 62-35 loss to Butler. The team was able to keep pace with the Aviators and didn’t trail behind while going back on defense, which was a common occurrence early in the season.
“That’s one added positive to it,” Stefancin said. “They’ve gotten so much quicker and their fundamentals have gotten so much better that we are able to stick with teams like the Tecumseh’s and Trotwood’s.
“We may not score a lot, but we stick with them and can run up and down the court with them compared to the beginning of the season. That’s a small growth that can lead to us becoming a better team.”
That improvement has been spearheaded by seniors Lauren Baker, Carrie Nuss and Maddie White according to Stefancin.
“The seniors bring a lot of great energy, a lot of positive energy, even with the season that we’ve had,” Stefancin said. “They bring a lot of life to practices and games and listen well. …They’re all great girls, really smart girls, and they do what I say within the game, and that’s all I can ask. They’re a really great group and they’re going to be missed big time.”
Stefancin credited Nuss for helping from the bench for a good portion of the season. Nuss, a 5-foot-5 guard, has suffered various injuries and has missed eight games. She’s currently recuperating from a concussion and played only a minute during Wednesday’s game.
Nuss started 18 games for Sidney during the program’s 24-1 campaign in 2016.
“Even as a 2-19 team, she’s still brought so much life to the game,” Stefancin said. “It’s tough seeing her not being able to play, but it’s awesome to see the others go out there and play and score some points.”
Butler jumped out to a 17-3 lead on Wednesday, but Sidney used a 12-11 scoring advantage in the second quarter to limit the halftime deficit to 28-15. Butler outscored the Yellow Jackets 12-11 in the third quarter and put the game away with a 22-9 scoring advantage in the fourth.
Junior guard Alina Kindle led the Yellow Jackets (2-19, 2-12 Greater Western Ohio Conference American North) with nine points while senior guard Maddie White added eight.
Sidney will wrap up regular season play on Saturday at Greenville. Stefancin said she thinks Sidney can have a better outing against the Green Wave after losing the first matchup 51-35 on Dec. 20.
“We’re focusing more on ending the season strong,” Stefancin said. “… I think this time we could beat (Greenville) if we play like we have been the last week or so.”
The Yellow Jackets are the bottom seed out of 17 teams in the Dayton Division I sectional tournament and will face No. 1 Beavercreek (17-3) on Feb. 17 at Butler’s Student Activities Center.