Girls basketball: Sidney wants tourney run after perfect MVL run


SIDNEY — Sidney completed a perfect run through Miami Valley League play with a 55-18 victory over Greenville on Saturday. Now the Yellow Jackets are hoping for a long postseason run.

The Yellow Jackets, which secured their second consecutive outright overall MVL title last week, improved to 18-4 overall and 18-0 in league play on Saturday.

“It took everybody buying in for us to get here,” Sidney senior guard Allie Stockton said. “Even the girls who don’t see many minutes, we had to have them buy in to help us out in practice. We just have to play as family, and we’ve been doing that. It’s helped us get here.”

For a team that returned every starter and every key bench player from last season’s 19-6 campaign, this year hasn’t been a completely smooth ride, largely due to injuries.

Senior guard and four-year starter Lexee Brewer has continued to work her way back from a serious knee injury five games into last season; she was cleared to play shortly before this season tipped off. Senior guard Kiara Hudgins, who took over at point guard for Brewer last year, had her own knee issues and was only recently cleared to play.

With one point guard not at full strength and another unavailable to play, it took the Yellow Jackets some time to get into a consistent offensive flow.

Despite that, and despite the squad losing all four of its nonconference games, no MVL contests were ever in doubt. Sidney won every league game by at least 14 points. Thirteen victories came by 30 or more points.

It’s the first time since 2016 Sidney posted an undefeated league record.

“We had goals at the beginning of the year,” Sidney coach Jamal Foster said. “The girls were highly motivated. They set the standard really high. They wanted to make history this year.

“It’s just a testament to what they do week in and week out in practice. Staying locked in, handling business game in and game out. I’m really, really proud of this group for how they battled and pulled together. It says a lot about the girls.”

Stockton, who moved to third place on the program’s all-time scoring list on Saturday, has been a steady presence this season and is the frontrunner for MVL player of the year.

She averaged an MVL-best 15.8 points per game in regular season and averaged 7.8 rebounds, three steals and two assists.

Brewer, who became the program’s career steals leader on Wednesday, is averaging 4.5 points, 3.5 steals and 3.3 assists. Senior post Regan Clark is averaging 7.4 points and six rebounds.

Those three, along with senior post Lexis Wilson, were honored before Saturday’s game.

“They bring a mentality of toughness every day,” Foster said. “They show up ready to practice. They’re willing to do what needs to be done, and they do a good job of picking each other up.

“This group has been through a lot, and it shows on the court. They’ll be missed.”

Sophomore guards Jordan Scully and Larkyn Vordemark have both followed up on stellar freshman years. Scully averages 10.2 points per game while Vordemark averages 10. They both average about two steals and two assists per game; Vordemark averages 4.2 rebounds per game.

Sophomore forward Kelis McNeal ranks second on the team with an average of seven rebounds per game and averages two steals, two assists and 4.3 points.

Junior guard Kimora Johnson, who is playing again after skipping last season, has been a key player off the bench and averages 2.6 points and 2.1 steals per game.

And Hudgins, a junior, returned to the court in a victory at Troy on Jan. 25. She averaged 7.1 points, 3.6 rebounds, 3.3 assists and three steals per game last year.

Now with a full eight-player rotation, Stockton said the squad is finally nearing full strength.

“It’s been nice having (Hudgins) back,” Stockton said. “It gives us another break with another ball handler who can bring 10 points to the table if she wanted to.”

Sidney was voted the No. 4 seed in the Dayton Div. I sectional and is scheduled to open postseason play by facing the Xenia vs. Troy winner on Feb. 13 at Vandalia-Butler High School; the Yellow Jackets beat both the Trojans and Buccaneers by over 30 points in each of the four MVL matchups against the two this season.

If victorious in the Feb. 13 sectional final, they’ll advance to a district semifinal, likely against No. 6 Centerville (15-7).

“We feel really confident about this group,” Foster said. “They’re highly motivated, and they’re just ready. It’s a little different then what we’ve had in the past in terms of mentality. We’re just really excited to get going with this postseason.”

Sidney scrimmaged several Greater Western Ohio Conference teams in preseason, and Foster said that and the four nonconference games showed the level the team needs to play in order to make a postseason run.

“We feel like if we take care of ourselves, we’ll be in a good spot,” Foster said. “The opponent will change, and we respect every one we’re going to play. But we’re really confident in what we do. Get on the defensive end, get up and down, being able to be better against the zone or man.

“Whatever we’ll see, we’ll be ready for it. I think these girls have good mix of experience and talent. I think this is the best we’ve been all year, and this is the time to be your best.”

The four seniors played a few minutes in the fourth quarter on Saturday and exited one final time to a standing ovation.

It was a fitting send off, especially for Stockton and Brewer, who have been starters the last four years and instrumental to the team’s success.

Stockton said her fondest memory from Saturday will have been watching bench players see time on the court, and seeing Wilson and sophomore forward Kendall Dickman score.

“We wanted to get everybody to score, but to really get Lexis to score, that was big for us,” Stockton said. “They bring so much energy to practice. Lexis brings the most positive energy of anyone you’ll meet. Kendall is just the girl you can count on at any point to do whatever you need her to do.”

Stockton hopes there will be more memories to come in postseason play.

“If we keep playing how we’ve been playing, we’ll be good,” Stockton said. “Have girls play their roles, do what they’re good at. Do what you do.”

Stockton scored a game-high 17 points on Saturday while Vordemark scored 11 and Scully scored 10.

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