SIDNEY — Sidney junior guard Camden Vordemark didn’t play much as an underclassman on a senior- and guard-heavy team last year.
And while being guard-heavy hasn’t changed for Sidney, Vordemark is among many players whose playing time has changed. He played in eight games last year but has played every night this season. He’s earned more time on the court as the season has progressed — and has contributed the team’s improvement, which was on display on Tuesday.
After a close first quarter, the Yellow Jackets started the second half of their regular season by pulling away to a dominating 85-49 victory over Fairborn in a Miami Valley League Valley Division game.
Sidney (11-1, 9-1 MVL) also started its second round of MVL play in the win and completed a season sweep of the Skyhawks (1-11, 1-9). The victory came six weeks to the day after the Yellow Jackets beat Fairborn 75-60 in a season opener.
“It just shows how we’re growing together as a team and how we’re starting to play together,” Vordemark said of the squad doubling its margin of victory against the Skyhawks. “We’re sharing the ball and getting easy layups, and that’s how you win.”
Vordemark led Sidney in scoring for the second consecutive game. He scored a career-high 14 points, with eight coming in both the first and second half.
He didn’t have to carry the scoring load; eight players scored seven or more points.
“We’re rotating a lot of guys,” Vordemark said. “It gets the other team tired and keeps us fresh.”
Sophomores Devin Taborn and Avante Martin each scored 12 points while seniors Dominick Durr, Lathan Jones, Darren Taborn and Trey Werntz each scored eight. Sophomore Jaden Swiger scored seven points.
Darren Taborn averages a team-best 13.7 points per game — but he’s scored in double figures just once in the last five games. That’s happened partially because opponents have have tried to focus their defense on him.
“Fairborn tried to take Darren away early, and we had a lot of other guys make plays,” Sidney coach John Willoughby said. “It’s going to be hard for teams to try to just take one guy away.”
Vordemark ranks seventh on the team in scoring but has had several big outpourings lately. He’s scored in double figures in three of the last five games and also scored nine points in a win over West Carrollton on Jan. 3.
“I’m learning a lot,” Vordemark said. “… I’ve just been getting some shots up, working on my game. Some of my teammates and I have been putting more shots up and getting better. That’s what it takes.”
Sidney’s record through 12 games is better than it was in a historic 20-win season last year. The Yellow Jackets have won their last two since suffering their first loss last Tuesday.
Willoughby gave credit to the team’s players both for not playing with too much pressure to win and for not taking last week’s loss to Tippecanoe too hard.
“We’re focused on ourselves and the things we’ve got to do better,” Willoughby said. “We played pretty well for a Tuesday game tonight with not many in the crowd. We talked about getting our own energy and getting the crowd involved, and I thought we did that.
“… The kids don’t get down (after losing) like they used to get, and that’s a positive. They’ve responded well and practices have been good. They’ve got great attitudes. They’re fun to be around, so that helps. We’ve got great relationships, so we can say the things we need to say, and they respond to that.”
Sidney will host Piqua on Friday in an MVL crossover game. The Yellow Jackets have won the last seven meetings against their archrival, with the last loss coming on Dec. 18, 2015 in Piqua.
Sidney beat Piqua 69-50 on Dec. 6 but the Indians (6-7, 4-6) have shown improvement. They’ve won five of their last six games, including a 60-57 win on Tuesday over Vandalia-Butler, which beat MVL Miami Division leader Tippecanoe on Friday.
“We don’t focus (on the winning streak); we don’t talk that way,” Willoughby said. “It’s our next game, and (Piqua has) been playing pretty well. If we execute our offense, we should be okay.”
Sidney used an 8-2 run to take a 10-5 lead early in the first quarter but the Skyhawks battled back to cut the gap to 15-14 by the end of the first.
Sidney switched to a three-quarter court press in the second quarter and tried to trap the ball. The move worked, as Fairborn had a flurry of turnovers that the Yellow Jackets converted into points.
“We sped the ball up and they turned the ball over, and that led to us getting easy baskets,” Vordemark said.
Sidney had a 21-19 lead with about 5:30 left in the second but forced a series of turnovers to power a 17-0 run. The last five points of the run came on a breakaway one-handed dunk by Martin and a 3-pointer by Werntz.
Sidney led 40-22 at halftime and scored the first six points of the third quarter to keep the momentum going. Darren Taborn scored on a driving layup in the last 20 seconds of the quarter to push the lead over 30 points, and it didn’t fall below 30 the rest of the way.
The Yellow Jackets shot 34 for 62 (54.8 percent) from the field and had 15 steals and nine blocks. Werntz and Swiger each had five of the team’s 35 rebounds. Vordemark and Durr each had four assists.