Andy Slaughter doesn’t think his Sidney Yellow Jackets have played their best basketball yet, despite having won eight of their first 11 games, and losing the other three by a total of six points.
And he thinks the tiem for that is now — his team will need to play their best basketball of the season Friday to have a chance to compete with the perennial Greater Western Ohio Conference North champions, Trotwood-Madison.
The two will match up Friday night at Trotwood, and for Sidney, it’s an important game, since the Jackets have already lost in division play, to Piqua in an upset back on Dec. 18.
Trotwood went into this week with a 7-1 record and was facing a busy schedule, playing Beavercreek Tuesday, West Carrollton Wednesday and Sidney Friday. The Rams’ only loss of the season came two days before Christmas at Decatur Central in Indiana by an 85-70 score, but so far they have appeared too strong for any Ohio team on their schedule.
“Trotwood will try to get us to play at their pace, so it’s going to be hectic and crazy Friday,” said Slaughter. “We’re going to have to take care of the ball and try to slow them down a little bit.”
The game will feature the top two freshman players in the GWOC this season in Sidney’s Andre Gordon and Trotwood’s Amari Davis. Gordon, a six-foot guard, is averaging 13.3 points per game for the Jackets, along with 4.7 rebounds, 5.2 assists and 3.7 steals per game.
Davis, a 6-foot-4 guard, is averaging 17.4 points per game along with 5.1 rebounds and 3.4 steals.
The Rams are led by 6-3 Torrey Patton at 10.8 per game and Myles Belue at 12.5 points and 9.1 rebounds per game. A 6-2 sophomore, Belue is the GWOC’s top rebounder.
Gordon has two teammates averaging in double figures in senior Cameron Gallimore, who is also at 13.3 per game and has 20 three-pointers, 15 more than anyone else on the team. He’s shooting an impressive 42.6 percent from beyond the arc.
And Lorenzo Taborn, a 6-4 senior, is at 12.2 points per game and 7.1 rebounds.
Sidney also has three other players averaging five or more.
“We’re definitely coming along,” said Slaughter. “We’re definitely capable of doing different things with the players we have. Our role players are really coming along.”
Slaughter likes where his team is at but says there are things the Jackets need to improve on.
“I still don’t think we’ve played our best ball,” he said. “We still have things to improve on, but any time you can win eight of your first 11, that’s something to feel good about.”
He’s thinking about rescheduling his halftime speech.
“We have to get better at starting a game,” he said. “We seem to come out and play well in the third quarter, so I’m thinking about using my halftime speech before the game from now on.”
Reach Ken Barhorst at 937-538-4818