SIDNEY — The biggest question for Sidney’s boys basketball team in a nonconference game on Friday was if a player could make a dunk.
After a couple of tries by different players, Avante Martin provided the slam highlight when he jammed a one-handed breakaway dunk with 2:28 left in the fourth quarter to increase Sidney’s lead to 30 points and cause a large crowd to cheer wildly.
Cheers were plentiful from Sidney fans. The Yellow Jackets built an 11-point lead by the end of the first quarter and gradually pulled away to their biggest win of the season by beating the Chieftains 80-48 to improve to 7-0 overall.
Sidney started the season with lopsided Miami Valley League wins over Fairborn and Piqua but battled through four close games before Christmas. Sidney controlled Friday’s game from the start as the Chieftains (0-7) couldn’t keep up with Sidney’s hot shooting.
“I thought we wore them down a little bit and took them out of what they wanted to do offensively, and I was pleased with that,” Sidney coach John Willoughby said. “I thought we did alright against their zone and scored 41 points against it in the first half.”
Eight players scored seven or more points for Sidney as the team freely subbed throughout the game.
Darren Taborn led the squad with 12 points, all of which came in the first half. Dominick Durr added 11, Martin finished with 10, Camden Vordemark scored nine, Trey Werntz, Cedric Johnson and Lathan Jones each added eight and Devin Taborn scored seven.
“There’s not a drop off with our bench guys,” Willoughby said. “That’s nice. Sometimes the subs play better, and if a couple of kids aren’t playing the way they should be or can, we can stick a couple of guys in there and see if they’re going to play better, and if they do, they stay in there.
“That keeps everybody on their toes. I think competition is good, and a lot of years, teams don’t have that and are only playing six or seven guys. When you have a lot of guys that can play, it keeps everybody on their toes, and everybody better get to practice when they should and things like that.”
Sidney will face another Central Buckeye Conference team on Saturday when it travels to New Carlisle Tecumseh. The Arrows were 1-6 entering a home game against Beavercreek on Friday.
“I don’t think too many guys got a lot of minutes tonight, but we’ll rely on our bench if we have to,” Willoughby said of Saturday’s matchup. “That could be a good indicator of how good our bench is.”
Sidney led by 15 points at halftime and started the third quarter on an 11-0 run to pull away. Martin and Werntz each scored eight points during the run and Durr capped it off with a basket with 3:40 left. The Chieftains scored 12 seconds later on their first field goal in nearly seven minutes.
“We thought we could control them one-on-one and take care of our own business,” Willoughby said of starting the third on the big run. “I thought we did a pretty good job of that. The kids just started to pick it up on their own, run and jump a little bit. It’s good to see that they do that rotation wise.
“I think (Bellefontaine) got a little tired, and you don’t shoot as well when you’re tired.”
Sidney jumped out to a quick 7-3 lead in the first three and half minutes and quickly extended the lead to a double-digit margin by the end of the first quarter.
Johnson made a basket after a steal to put the Yellow Jackets ahead 17-7 with 1:14 left, then Jaden Swiger made a shot off the glass as time expired to push the advantage to 21-10.
Bellefontaine’s Brett Belser hit a 3 to open the second quarter, then Declan Ashcraft and Simon Stolly made consecutive baskets to cut the gap to 24-17 with 6:47 left in the second.
The Yellow Jackets quickly extended the lead. Martin made a basket, Trey Werntz hit 1-of-2 free throws and Lathan Jones made a shot off the glass to give Sidney a 29-17 lead. Darren Taborn then scored six points in the final two minutes of the quarter to extend the lead to 41-26.
Belser led the Chieftains with 11 points while Ashcraft finished with 10.