WEST CARROLLTON — It was a heated and at times sloppy game in a Greater Western Ohio Conference crossover matchup between Sidney and West Carrollton on Friday.
And though the Pirates came within four points in the second half, Sidney finished on a big run to keep its perfect conference record intact with a 72-55 victory.
West Carrollton (2-9, 0-5 GWOC American South) came as close as seven points in the fourth quarter but Sidney (7-1, 6-0 GWOC North) finished on an 18-8 run in the final five minutes to pull away.
“We shouldn’t have been in that situation,” Sidney coach John Willoughby said of needing to pull away late. “We missed some early opportunities with layups we left out on the floor, probably about 12 or 15 points in the first half.
“We can play at a pretty good place, but tonight it seemed a couple of (our guys) had engines going a little bit too fast, faster than what it needed to be. Kind of got them off-kilter on some of their shots. Then we’d get a turnover, and we’d give it right back to them with a crazy pass.”
Andre Gordon led Sidney with 22 points, including seven in the fourth quarter. Ratez Roberts added 16 and finished with five blocks unofficially. Darren Taborn and Josiah Hudgins each scored nine points.
Gordon and Roberts hit big baskets during Sidney’s late run to help put the game away.
The Yellow Jackets twice pushed the lead to 10 points early in the fourth, but West Carrollton hit 3-pointers each time to narrow the gap back down. They finally pulled away in the final minutes, though.
Roberts made a basket with 4:09 left to push the lead to 56-47, then Gordon made a basket in the paint a minute later. Taborn made 1-of-2 free throws to increase the lead to 60-47 with 2:14 left, and West Carrollton didn’t pull closer than 11 points after that.
“We’re getting in a stretch here where we need performers to come out and play, and it can’t be all on Andre,” Willoughby said of relying on the Virginia Tech commit. “Josiah hit a couple of 3s tonight, and that was big for us. Darren hit some good shots, too.”
The Yellow Jackets led 31-25 at halftime. James Hall and Jeff McGraw hit 3s early in the third quarter to bring West Carrollton within 33-31, but Sidney scored the next seven points to take a nine-point lead.
Trey Werntz hit a 3 to put Sidney ahead 44-36 with two minutes left in the third, but Ryan Brown made free throw and then completed a three-point play a minute later to bring the Pirates’ within 44-40 with 58 seconds left.
Gordon made a steal and two-handed dunk before the third quarter was over to increase the lead to six points, then Hudgins opened the fourth with a 3 to put Sidney ahead 49-40.
The first half was dominated with sloppy play. Both teams struggled to hit shots and grab offensive rebounds, and both threw several passes out-of-bounds.
Gordon started the game with a high-flying one-handed dunk, but West Carrolton led by as many as five in the first quarter.
Sidney scored the last eight points of the quarter, though, to take a 15-12 lead. Roberts made consecutive baskets over a two-minute period, then Gordon made a 3 and followed with a free throw for a four-point play with one second left to give Sidney a three-point lead.
Gordon opened the second quarter with a steal and layup to boost the lead to five points, but the Pirates tied it 19-19 after scoring five points in a five-second stretch.
Dominick Durr hit a basket with 5:26 left to put the Yellow Jackets ahead 21-19, then neither team scored again until Hudgins hit a bank-shot 3 with 2:41 left.
Hudgins later hit another 3 to put Sidney ahead 27-21. The teams traded baskets over the next two minutes.
The Yellow Jackets struggled against West Carrollton’s 2-3 zone early, but Willoughby said he thought Lathan Jones helped them.
“I thought what really helped was when we put Lathan Jones in the middle of that zone,” Willoughby said. “That helped us out rebounding wise.”
Sidney continues GWOC crossover play on Tuesday when it hosts Xenia. The Buccaneers, which are led by Cincinnati signee Samari Curtis, improved to 5-4 overall by beating Tippecanoe 80-58 in a crossover contest on Friday. Curtis averages a GWOC-best 30.9 points per game.
Brown led the Pirates with 13 while McKinney added 12 and Hall scored 11.
Reach Bryant Billing at 937-538-4818, or follow @SidneyOHSports on Twitter and @BryantBillingSDN on Facebook.