It’s pretty common knowledge around the area that the Sidney High girls basketball team is in the midst of a excellent season, currently standing at 15-0 on the year with a No. 8 ranking in the state in Division 1.
But on Monday the Lady Jackets will play in the prestigious Classic in the Country at Berlin Hiland High school, not because of what they have accomplished this season, but because of what they did last year.
The Lady Jackets will make the long trip to northeast Ohio for a 1:20 p.m. game Monday afternoon against North Royalton High School. North Royalton is a suburb of Cleveland and took a 9-5 record into a game today against Hudson.
“We got an invitation from Tom Jenkins, who is head of the Ohio Girls Basketball Report,” said Sidney coach Megan Mummey. “Jada Rowland (Sidney sophomore) has played the last two years in the OGBR top 64, and her father John talked to Tom and told him about the year we were having last year. With everyone back but two from last year’s team, he (Jenkins) thought we would be a great fit for the Classic.”
The event happens over three days, and Fort Loramie will kick off this year’s Classic in the first game this morning at 10 a.m. against Cincinnati Summit Country Day. Loramie has played in the Classic before, but this is the first appearance for Sidney.
Fifteen of the 20 teams participating are state ranked in one of the four divisions. Fort Loramie is No. 8 in D-4 and Summit Country Day No. 3 in D-3. North Royalton is unranked.
“I think this will be a great experience for our kids,” Mummey said. “This senior class has laid the foundation for this program, and for them to be invited to something like this is a blessing. This will also be big for our girls looking to play at the next level. Sylvia Hudson is close to announcing where she will play next year, and Celena Taborn and Jada Rowland will have a great opportunity to impress some college coaches.”
Mummey expects a difficult game from North Royalton. Of the team’s five losses so far, one was to sixth-ranked (D-1) Canton McKinley and another was to the top-ranked D-1 school in Ohio, Wadsworth.
“North Royalton is comprable to us,” said Mummey. “They have a very good shooter in Gabby White who we will need to contain. She is their best player and leads them in scoring. They have a good freshman post player who is 6-2 and will be able to battle inside against Celena, so it will be crucial for us to stay out of foul trouble.
“I’m looking for Sylvia (Hudson) to really step up and take the game on her shoulders,” she added. “She has proven she can hit the little jumper outside, and if they come out on her, she can take anyone off the dribble.”
The Lady Jackets have reeled off 15 straight wins this season, despite getting everybody’s best shot. But the coach says they are dealing well with the pressure of being an undefeated team.
“I think the girls are handling the pressure well,” said Mummey. “We still keep in mind that at the end of the day, if you want to be the best you have to beat the best. We have seen great competition this year with Centerville and Tecumseh, but this will be our next big test. As a team we battle showing up and going hard against teams we are expected to beat. But when we know there is a big game, we show up ready to go. I cannot ask for anything more from this group. We have won 15 games this season and I am still pointing out ways we can get better after wins. My team knows how to respond when the game is on the line. I have nine girls that refuse to lose and I have high expectations for us Monday.”
Reach Ken Barhorst at 937-538-4818