Sidney girls basketball players hope history repeats itself on Thursday night at Vandalia-Butler in a battle versus perennial powerhouse Centerville, 16-7 and winners of eight of the last 10.
You see, the last time Sidney, currently 19-4, was given a good chance to be competitive with Centerville from the Greater Western Ohio Conference and have an opportunity to knock them off was December 2015. Then, the Yellow Jackets opened the season with a fourth straight victory, a 53-46 whipping of the Elks.
Behind Sylvia Hudson, Celena Taborn and Kaitlyn Davis, that Sidney team turned into a juggernaut and steamrolled to a 24-1 campaign before losing to Springboro in a sectional final. That setback in the sectional championship is the part of history that season which Sidney hopes does NOT repeat itself.
By the way, Centerville’s triumph over Chaminade on Monday was the Elks’ 100th in less than five seasons.
The Sidney-Centerville winner Thursday night advances to a district championship at Princeton on Saturday, Feb. 25, at 6:30 p.m. against either Kings or West Clermont. WC is 24-0 and the number two ranked Division I team in Ohio according to Associated Press pollsters. During the regular season, West Clermont clipped Kings twice in Eastern Cincinnati Conference action.
But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. First, coach Jamal Foster’s Yellow Jackets must shoot down the Elks. Foster has the hot shot-makers, unselfish and skillful ball handlers, and pesky and tenacious defenders to get the job done.
Some degree of balance may be the key this evening. Leading scorer Allie Stockton at 16 points per game and her fine supporting cast must continue to share the wealth offensively. Jordan Scully and Larkyn Vordemark both tally ten per contest. Regan Clark tacks on seven more.
In addition, Lexee Brewer and Kelis McNeal are both shooting 50 percent. Kiara Hudgins is coming back strong from a knee injury. Kimora Johnson provides valuable minutes with hustle and playmaking, too.
A dive into old scorebooks reveals that the 2015-16 Sidney squad had two starters go scoreless against Centerville. Davis sank nine of ten free throws in route to a dozen points. Hudson canned 11 of 19 from the floor and amassed 26 in all. Taborn nailed seven of ten on the night and added 15. Centerville’s leading scorer could muster only 11 points.
It’s not often the Centerville girls do not reach a district final. In fact, the last current-MVL school to throttle the Elks in the tourney was Fairborn in February 2012. The Skyhawks edged them, 39-37, in a sectional championship that preceded the district.
Sidney averages 55 points per contest; Centerville, 53. Inside player Kendall George scores 14 for the Elks; Anna Grimm is right behind at 13. Both George and Grimm are solid 5-9 1/2 seniors.
After clobbering Xenia for the third time this year on Monday and averaging 67 points against the Buccaneers, Sidney doesn’t expect to score with so much ease against Centerville.
And the Elks don’t expect to rack up 78 like they did against Sidney in February 2019.
Tonight, Sidney must continue to deflect passes, deny entries to the post, defend, and get stops. Coach Foster has the Yellow Jackets to swarm and do just that.
In the 2015 defeat of the Elks, Sidney jumped to a 14-11 lead, was outscored by 10 in the second period, and then blitzed Centerville 34-20 in the final 16 minutes, while making the game’s final six points.
Eight years later, a determined Sidney club will again play the Elks tough, starting fast and finishing strong to make sure history repeats itself.
Tip-off is at 7 p.m. on Thursday night. Pregame starts at 6:25 PM on ScoresBroadcast.com. Jack Kramer and Chuck McBee are on the call.
Realty 2000 Group in Sidney and Mutual Federal in Sidney, Piqua and Troy are two new anchor sponsors participating in the online broadcasts of area high school sports.