SIDNEY — Sidney’s only loss before a game against St. Marys Memorial on Saturday came to Tippecanoe, which has three starters that are 6-foot-4 or taller.
The Roughriders are even taller than Tipp — and had an easier time dominating in the post than Tipp did against Sidney.
The Yellow Jackets, which don’t have a post player over 6-2, struggled to find shots and couldn’t slow St. Marys’ hot shooting in a 55-27 loss in their final nonconference game of the season.
It was a reversal for Sidney (16-2), which had won its last seven games and has outscored opponents by an average of 10 points per contest this season. It’s the program’s most lopsided loss since an 87-53 defeat at Trotwood-Madison on Jan. 26, 2018.
“We don’t want to get too far down on this game,” Sidney coach John Willoughby said. “You’re going to have games like this sometimes. You don’t want to make too big a deal out of that. We know we got outplayed, outmanned, out-executed, out-coached and whatever you want to say tonight.”
Sidney had it worst shooting night of the season against the Roughriders (13-3) in front of a near-sellout crowd. The squad hit 11-of-48 (22.9 percent) of field-goal attempts, including 1-of-9 three-pointers. It’s the first time since 2014 the program hasn’t reached 30 points in a game.
St. Marys shot nearly 50 percent from the field. The squad worked the ball inside to 6-foot-6 senior forward Ethan Steger and 6-8 freshman center Austin Parks, who found easy baskets and made several put-backs. Steger scored 15 points and Parks scored 13.
The two were dominant defensively as well. Sidney post players Lathan Jones, Avante Martin and Jaden Swiger average a combined 20 points per game but scored nine on Saturday. The duo also clogged the lane and prevented Sidney’s guards from driving to the basket.
Parks had a game-high 10 rebounds for St. Marys, which had nearly double Sidney’s 23 rebounds.
“They execute really well,” Willoughby said. “They have players around those two players as well.”
One of those players is Jadin Davis, who scored 15 points. Davis hit three of the team’s seven 3-pointers, most of which were made when Sidney tried to double-team a post player inside and left a guard open on the wing.
The Yellow Jackets will look for better performances next week in two big Miami Valley League matchups. Sidney travels to Troy (which it beat in overtime in December) on Tuesday before traveling to West Carrollton on Friday.
“Hopefully we’re ready for Tuesday,” Willoughby said. “I don’t want the kids to feel bad about this tonight. We just have to make sure we’re ready mentally, physically for Tuesday.”
Sidney leads West Carrollton by two games in MVL standings and can clinch an outright title with wins in its next two games. It would be the program’s third league title in the last four years.
“That was our expectation going into this year,” Willoughby said. “We talked about it at our banquet at the end of last year. The squad the last three years set the expectations pretty high, and we want to keep them there.”
St. Marys took a 13-3 lead in the first four minutes of the game and pushed its lead to 17-5 at the end of the first quarter after Carson Fischbach scored a layup following a steal in the final seconds.
The gap stayed around 10 points until the final 90 seconds of the third quarter. Davis made a pair of free throws and then hit a wide-open 3 from the left corner to boost the lead to 29-14. Parks then made a put-back right before the buzzer to increase the lead to 17.
“The momentum switched,” Willoughby said. “… I thought if we could keep it around eight or 10 we’d be alright. Around that last minute and a half, we missed a layup and shot a 3 that we shouldn’t have and had a turnover, and they had breakouts on all three of those.”
The Roughriders finished Sidney off with a 10-5 scoring edge in the third and 14-8 advantage in the fourth.
Camden Vordemark hit 4-of-5 shots and led Sidney with nine points. Jones had a team-high eight rebounds.