TROY — Sidney’s girls basketball squad usually displays fiery tenacity in its up-tempo style, but the squad took it to another level in the first three quarters of a Division I district semifinal on Monday at Troy High School’s Trojan Activities Center.
But cold shooting and foul trouble in the last 10 minutes resulted in a 10-point lead turning into a 53-44 loss to Bellbrook, which was ranked No. 8 in Div. I in the final Associated Press state poll.
The Yellow Jackets, which won the overall MVL title, finish 19-6.
“It hurts, but I couldn’t be more proud of this group for what they’ve done all season,” Sidney coach Jamal Foster said. “They’ve answered the call. They’ve overachieved in a lot of people’s eyes. I’m proud of them.”
Sidney, which played mainly with five players in the second half of the season, is set to return nearly its entire squad.
In addition to the five players who started on Monday being set to return, junior guard Lexee Brewer and junior forward Regan Clark are expected to be back as well. Brewer, a three-year starter, suffered a season-ending knee injury in the fifth game of the season, and Clark was only eligible to play the first half of the season due to OHSAA transfer rules.
Aside from those seven, three other players who saw varsity time this season are expected to return, including freshman forward Kendall Dickman, who played off the bench on Monday.
“It will be good to sub,” Foster said with a smile when referring to increased numbers expected next year. “Lexee speaks for herself with what she’s done. Regan playing a full season will be great.
“Along with that, we’ll get better over the offseason and continue to get girls to buy in, which I think they have. The work that we can do in the offseason and the will we can get from knowing how this feels, the motivation to move on, is big. We want to make something happen next year.”
Sidney built a 35-25 lead by the midpoint of the third quarter. After Bellbrook starter Olivia Trusty left the game with an injury, Sidney appeared to have a hold on the momentum.
But the Eagles switched to a full-court press, and Sidney sophomore point guard Kiara Hudgins was soon forced to sit on the bench for a few minutes after picking up her third foul.
Sidney committed several turnovers in the stretch without Hudgins on the floor, and the team’s previously hot shooting went cold.
Bellbrook (23-2) scored the last 13 points of the third quarter, then made the first basket of the fourth to cap off a 15-0 run and take a 40-35 lead.
“Foul trouble kind of got us,” Foster said. “We weren’t very deep from the beginning, and having a couple of people with three or four fouls really affected the swing of the game.
“Basketball’s a game of runs, and we just couldn’t answer their good run. That’s a really good team.
Hudgins made a basket to bring Sidney within 44-42 with about four minutes left, but the Eagles went on a 6-2 run to take a six-point lead heading into the final minute.
Sidney’s five starters in Hudgins, junior guard Allie Stockton and freshmen Jordan Scully, Larkyn Vordemark and Kelis McNeal played the majority of the game, with Dickman and senior Paige Frew playing off the bench.
Foster said he was proud how the young squad played and the tenacity it showed, including Vordemark, who continued to play through back pain that also hampered her in a sectional final win over Beavercreek last week.
“The fought. They wanted it,” Foster said. “It wasn’t about will. If a couple of shots go our way, things could have turned around. But overall, I’m just super proud of how they played. They gave it their all.
“There was nothing left by them. Everything’s left out on the floor. I’m very, very proud.”
Stockton, who recently surpassed 1,000 career points, led Sidney with 17 on Monday, 15 of which came in the first half. She finishes the season with 1,108 career points after scoring 423 this year.
Hudgins added nine points and Scully added eight.
Taylor Scohy led the Eagles with 15 points while senior guard Dre Pryce scored 12 off the bench.
Bellbrook scored the first seven points, but Sidney finished the first quarter on a 13-8 run to pull within 15-13 heading into the second. The Yellow Jackets dominated the second quarter and took a 29-23 lead by halftime. They started the third with a 6-2 run to take a 10-point lead.