HILLSBORO — Sidney showed its strengths in a season-opening win over Tippecanoe on Friday, but its weaknesses were on display against Mason in the Ohio Valley Hoops Classic on Saturday.
The Comets scored the last six points of the third quarter and ran away to a 63-44 victory in Hillsboro. The Yellow Jackets drop to 1-1 with the loss.
Mason’s strong man-to-man defense bottled up Sidney through most of the game. Sidney 6-foot-3 senior forward Ratez Roberts had 11 rebounds in the paint against Mason’s taller post players, but the Yellow Jackets didn’t have any other post presence.
“I was just disappointed in the way we came to play,” Sidney coach John Willoughby said. “It was a lot of one-on-one stuff. Nobody rebounding except for Ratez. We’re not big enough to rely on one guy. We need everybody. We had poor shooting too. They shot the ball really well.
“We just weren’t ready. If we want to be some type of championship team, we’re going to have to be ready to play every night and be ready to take on teams like this. We just weren’t ready tonight.
Mason led Sidney 35-24 at halftime. Andre Gordon hit a basket after a 360-degree spin with 2:42 left in the third quarter to cut the deficit to 41-31. The Comets scored the last six points — including a basket by Matthew Smith with one second left — to take a 16-point lead into the fourth.
Gordon, a Virginia Tech commit, led Sidney with 19 points (13 of which came in the first half). Dominck Durr was the team’s next highest scorer with five points — all of which came in the first quarter.
Sidney made 16-of-44 (36.4 percent) of shots from the field while Mason made 23-of-49 (46.9).
Landen Long hit two 3-pointers in the first two minutes of the game to put Mason up 6-0, then 6-7 forward Matt Minick scored a basket in the paint with 4:43 left to increase the lead to eight and force Willoughby to call a timeout.
The Yellow Jackets quickly got back in it by scoring eight of the next 10 points. Durr hit a 3-pointer from the left wing with 1:29 left to put Sidney ahead 11-10, but Mitchell Greer hit a 3 a little later to put the Comets ahead by two.
Gordon hit a basket in the paint and later made a pair of free throws with 6.2 seconds left to put Sidney up by two points, but Jack Franke drove down the court and scored on a jumper at the buzzer to tie it 15-15.
The Comets scored the first seven points of the second quarter, the last of which came on a 3 by Long with 5:48 left. Jack Cooper made a basket to put Mason ahead 33-22 with 1:59 left in the second.
Gordon made a thunderous dunk with 48 seconds left in the second, but Minick made a pair of free throws with 35 seconds left to boost the Comets’ lead to 11 points at halftime.
“I thought we were fine there (after that first quarter),” Willoughby said. “We kind of dug in with that bad start but we showed some life. I was just disappointed in the way we attacked it tonight. For some reason, we just have a tough time on back-to-back nights. Being 16, 17 years old, you can’t play back-to-back nights? That’s a little ridiculous to me.”
It was the first game of the season for Mason. Long led the team with 15 points and was named the game’s MVP by OVHC personnel. Minick and Greer each finished with 11.
Sidney will play next on Tuesday at Bellefontaine in nonconference action.
Reach Bryant Billing at 937-538-4818, or follow @SidneyOHSports on Twitter and @BryantBillingSDN on Facebook.