SIDNEY — Sidney has gotten its dose of taller opponents the last two games and is hoping those experiences can help come tournament time.
But first, the Yellow Jackets will try to earn the Miami Valley League Valley Division title outright this coming Friday.
Sidney lost 57-46 to Tippecanoe in an MVL game on Friday to drop to 14-7 overall and 12-5 in league play. It’s the second consecutive loss for the Yellow Jackets, which won their previous nine contests.
Sidney lost 52-38 to St. Marys Memorial last Saturday. The Roughriders’ 6-foot-7 post players Jace Turner and Evan Angstmann combined for 39 points, and Tippecanoe 6-5 senior forward Jackson Smith scored 24 on Friday.
Smith and 6-4 senior forward Maddox Sivon (who scored six points) made things difficult in the post for Sidney. Senior forward Mitchell Davis (6-4) is the lone player over 6-2 on Sidney’s roster.
“It’s tough for us to handle (the size differential),” Sidney coach John Willoughby said. “I thought we battled pretty well. We did a good job taking away their guards’ 3s until late, when they got a few.
“That’s a decision we made. Jackson got some points inside, but you’ve got to take something away, so we tried to take the guards away.
“… They do a good job of knowing where they’re going to score from. They do a great job of that high-low. I thought we defended it pretty well, but if you do that all game long, it wears you down.”
Sidney had a one-game lead over Stebbins in Valley Division standings entering Friday’s action, and as a result of the Indians’ 56-48 loss to Vandalia-Butler, it will earn at least a share of the divisional title.
The Yellow Jackets are scheduled to conclude regular-season play by hosting Greenville this coming Friday. With a win, they’ll capture the divisional title outright.
Junior guard A’Zon Steele led Sidney with 16 points on Friday. Jayce Daniel scored 12 and Davis and junior guard Julius Spradling each scored eight.
Sidney kept up in the first half on Friday. The Red Devils led 11-9 at the end of the first quarter and led through much of the second until Sidney scored six straight points to take a 24-20 lead.
But Tippecanoe (19-2, 16-1 MVL Miami) scored the last five points of the half to take a 25-24 halftime lead. Preston Zumwalt hit the team’s only 3 of the first half, and Smith scored on a shot off the glass in the final seconds.
Tipp pulled away in the second half thanks in part to sophomore guard C.J. Bailey, who scored all 14 of his points in the half, 12 of which came on four 3-pointers.
“Our guys worked their butts off,” Willoughby said. “We didn’t shoot the ball as well as we normally do, and that made it tough to keep up late. I give credit to Tipp for that. They have good defensive presence. If you try to take it inside, you’re running into a couple of walls there.”
Russia secures share of SCAL title by beating Botkins
Russia beat Botkins 65-52 on Friday at Clair C. Naveau Gymnasium to clinch a share of their second consecutive Shelby County Athletic League title.
The Raiders can win the title outright this Friday if they beat Fort Loramie. The contest is the final varsity game scheduled to take place in Clair C. Naveau Gymnasium before the Russia Community Center opens later this year.
Russia (19-1, 10-1) led 14-12 at the end of the first quarter on Friday and outscored Botkins 18-14 in the second, 16-11 in the third and 16-15 in the fourth.
Hayden Quinter led the Raiders with 18 points while Braylon Cordonnier scored 13, Vince Borchers scored 11 and Brayden Monin scored 10.
Jordan Herzog led Botkins (14-5, 9-2 SCAL) with 13 points. The Trojans, which are scheduled to travel to Lima Shawnee on Saturday, have a one-game lead over Anna for second place in league standings. They are scheduled to host the Rockets this Friday and wrap up regular-season play on Saturday at New Knoxville.
After Friday’s game against the Redskins, Russia is scheduled to conclude regular-season play on Saturday by traveling to Marion Local.
Lehman fourth in TRC after loss to Troy Christian
Lehman Catholic couldn’t keep up in the fourth quarter and lost 50-46 to Troy Christian on Friday at Schlater Family Gymnasium.
The Cavaliers played the Eagles closer in Sidney than they did in the teams’ first matchup on Jan. 5 in Troy. Troy Christian won 54-37 after building an 18-point lead by halftime.
Lehman led 26-25 on Friday, but the Eagles rallied with a 15-12 scoring edge in the third and 10-8 edge in the fourth to stay undefeated in TRC play.
The Cavaliers dropped to 15-5 overall and 8-5 in TRC play. They are in fourth place in league standings, 1.5 games behind third-place Miami East.
Donovan O’Leary led the Cavaliers with 17 points and seven rebounds. Shane Frantz added 14 points.
Lehman is scheduled to travel to Northridge (12-7, 10-2) on Tuesday for their final conference game. They are scheduled to wrap up regular-season play on Saturday by hosting Bradford (10-9).
Reach Bryant Billing at 937-538-4818, or follow @SidneyOHSports on Twitter and @BryantBillingSDN on Facebook.