Sidney boys basketball coach Andy Slaughter has mixed feelings about his team’s participation in the Columbus DeSales Holiday Tournament last week.
On the one hand, he couldn’t help but be pleased that the Yellow Jackets came within a point of bringing home the tournament title in a very competitive field.
But on the other hand, that word “finish” reared its ugly head again.
The Jackets were in position to knock off a good Lakota East team, only to let it get away at the end because of missed free throws and missed scoring opportunities. In the 50-49 loss, Sidney was just 2-for-9 from the free throw line.
“It was the same thing as the other couple games we lost,” he said. “We have to finish. If we finish, we win the game and the tournament. If we make free throws, it’s a whole different game. We have to get better at the end of the game. We have to find that clutch bone that we seem to be missing right now.”
The Jackets are now 7-3 on the season, and the three losses have come by a total of six points, margins of three, two and one. They will get back in action Wednesday night when they travel to Urbana for what promises to be another big test against the 5-3 Hillclimbers, who will be trying to get back on track after back-to-back losses to Hilliard Davidson and Versailles.
“I thought Lakota East (now 8-2) and DeSales were both very good teams,” Slaughter said. “And for us to compete like we did in that tournament was great. We weren’t sure we would be able to guard Lakota man-to-man but we did a great job defensively. We had some breakdowns that we have to improve on, but we went over there and competed against some quality teams.”
Slaughter said it’s still undecided if Sidney will return to the tournament next season. “It depends on what our schedule looks like,” he said. “We only have nine home games this year (out of 22 regular season games), so we need a couple more. If we can get our 11 homes games and still have a chance to go back over there, we would definitely do it.”
Senior guard Cameron Gallimore leads the Jackets into the game at Urbana Wednesday. He has caught fire from long range, hitting 14 three-pointers in his last three games, during which he’s averaged an even 19 points.
Heralded freshman guard Andre Gordon was held to just two points against Lakota East.
“Teams get to know you and know your tendencies,” Slaughter said. “We have to adjust and put him in better position to score. We haven’t had all the pistons firing together yet, that everyone-plays-well game. We do that in spurts but haven’t put a full game together. We have some big games in the backstretch of the season and we hope to be able to do that.”
He expects another battle Wednesday night at Urbana.
“It should be a very good contest,”he said, “The Logwood (Cameron) kid is very physical and gets to the basket, and they had a couple of big kids inside. They will run, but also slow it down and run some offense. I think we both have the ability to play big and small, too. It will be a good game.”
Logwood is averaging 12.8 for the Hillclimbers, but the top scorer is Jordan Underwood at 16.2. Both are seniors in the 6-foot-2 range. Najhea Honore, another 6-2 senior, is averaging 10.2 rebounds per game.
Reach Ken Barhorst at 937-538-4818