NEW CARLISLE — Playing five games in 10 days can be a daunting task.
When that fifth and final contest is against an undefeated team on its home floor, though, that makes for quite a challenge.
The Sidney Lady Jackets answered that challenge in convincing fashion here Monday night, overcoming some early obstacles to pull away late for a 62-47 victory over the Tecumseh Lady Arrows.
Sidney, the top-ranked Division I team in this week’s Dabbs Miami Valley Elite 8 Poll, remains perfect on the season at 9-0 while Tecumseh, ranked No. 2 in the same poll, drops its first decision in nine games.
Both teams struggled with the offense in the opening period, with Sidney holding a 7-6 edge by hitting three of 10 shots compared to two of 16 for Tecumseh. The Lady Jackets, however, also had foul troubles in the first quarter with Celena Taborn picking up her second foul at the 4:36 mark and Sylvia Hudson being whistled for a technical foul with 1:18 remaining.
It was still a one-point margin until a Kaitlyn Davis three and a three-point play by Hudson put Sidney up 15-8 with 3:44 to play in the second quarter. The duo combined for all 16 of the Jacket points in the stanza, eight each, as Sidney went into the halftime break with a 23-17 advantage.
“Kaitlyn is a smart senior and that really helped us, especially in that first half,” said Sidney coach Megan Mummey. “I’m so proud of our mental toughness out there tonight. We didn’t let things get to us and that could have easily happened in the early going.”
The Lady Jackets shot 33 percent in the first half while holding Tecumseh to 17 percent on just six of 36 shots. The struggles carried over to the foul line for the Lady Arrows, hitting only three of eight attempts, while Sidney was three of four at the stripe.
Sidney’s lead seesawed between seven and nine for the first four minutes of the third quarter until a Taborn jumper and a Hudson runner extended the margin to 38-26.
Tecumseh closed to within six twice in the early stages of the final period, but the Jackets looked to be in control as another Taborn basket followed by a steal and score by Ashley Egan made it 48-38 with 5:31 to play.
The Lady Arrows, however, used a 7-1 run to cut the deficit to 49-45 and it was still a four-point contest with two minutes remaining at 51-47.
It was all Lady Jackets from there, though, as Tecumseh would not score the rest of the way and Sidney would hit all seven of its foul shot attempts over the final 1:41, with layups by Egan and Hudson thrown in down the stretch.
“We did the smart things we needed to do at the end,” said Mummey. “We didn’t get rattled, we were patient and then we hit key free throws.”
The Lady Jackets shot 58 percent the final two quarters to finish at 45 percent overall while the Lady Arrows ended the night at 27 percent, including five of 28 from three-point range.
“They have three real big threats from behind the arc and they score a lot of points overall, so to hold them like we did says a lot about our defense,” said Mummey of Tecumseh, who was averaging 83.9 points per game coming in with their previous low point total being 66. “We’ve run man all season, but we had to go zone in this one and we did a great job of executing it, especially working on it just one day after playing Saturday.”
Sidney also made 13 of 17 foul shots while Tecumseh was just six for 15.
Hudson posted a double-double as she led the way with 25 points and 13 rebounds, with 17 of those points coming in the second half. She was also a perfect 7-for-7 from the line in the final period, and 9-for-10 for the game.
Taborn also recorded a double-double of 14 points and 11 boards, with 13 points and seven rebounds coming after halftime.
Davis was the third Jacket in double figures as she had 14 points to go along with eight rebounds and three assists.
“Our three guards did an excellent job of handling their pressure,” said Mummey. “Carrie Nuss is just a sophomore, but she played like a senior tonight and Egan really stepped up and gave us some key baskets.”
Sidney (62) – Davis 14, Egan 7, Hudson 25, Taborn 14, Rowland 2.
Tecumseh (47) – Berner 2, Smith 11, Nartker 15, Franklin 14, Griffitts 2, Thomas 3.
Score by quarters:
Sidney–7 23 42 62
Tecumseh–6 17 35 47
Three-pointers: Sidney 3 (Davis 2, Egan); Tecumseh 5 (Smnith 3, Thomas, Franklin)
Records: Sidney 9-0, Tecumseh 8-1.
Reserve score: Tecumseh 56, Sidney 29.
Matt Zircher is a part-time sports writer for the Sidney Daily News