PIQUA — Sidney senior guard Andre Gordon wanted to end his career on a high note against archrival Piqua on Friday. He did — literally.
Gordon, a Virginia Tech commit, scored his final points of the night on perhaps his highest dunk of the year. He elevated over a Piqua defender with about 4:30 and slammed the ball in the basket, with nearly all his arm up to his elbow going inside.
It was one of seven dunks for the 6-foot-2 Gordon and seemed to take out what air the Indians had left away. Sidney pulled away in the second half to earn a 72-41 victory in a Greater Western Ohio Conference American North Division game at Garbry Gymnasium.
“They had a crazy crowd, kids talking, chanting names and everything,” Gordon said. “It was fun. It’s always fun coming here. …Kids on their team talking a little bit of trash just motivated me a little bit more. It’s just going to make me a little more urgent to get a dunk. It felt great coming out, playing against a rival and getting the W.”
The Yellow Jackets (17-3, 11-2 GWOC North) can now turn their attention to Vandalia-Butler, which will travel to Sidney on Tuesday. Butler, which edged Troy 59-55 on Friday, is tied with Sidney for first place in the North.
“We’ve got to come out the same way we did today,” Gordon said. “Come out with intensity and play defense. We’re rebounding a lot better lately. Lathan (Jones) came in and got a lot of rebounds for us, so I feel like that will help.”
The Yellow Jackets stormed back and beat Butler 51-46 in overtime on Dec. 18 in Vandalia, which is the third consecutive year Sidney has won at the Student Activities Center. Butler has won its last two games in Sidney.
“We’ve got to break this pattern of us winning at their place and them winning at our place,” Sidney coach John Willoughby said. “… It’d be a great time to break that. Our defense will be a key because they have excellent players. Josiah (Hudgins) will be a key, and he’s been playing well defensively. He came out and played well tonight.”
Gordon finished with 28 points, which is the most he’s scored in a game against Piqua in his career. Senior forward Ratez Roberts finished with eight points, all in the first half.
“This is probably my last time playing against Piqua with it being senior year, so I look at it like I want to show Piqua what I’m about,” Gordon said. “Tez (Roberts), same way. He’s going to come and play hard with it being his last time playing Piqua ever. We came out with a chip on our shoulders and ready to get the win.”
Junior guard Darren Taborn and Jones, a junior forward, added 10 points apiece.
Sidney led 33-25 at halftime and quickly extended its lead in the third quarter. Gordon made a 3 from the left corner and Taborn followed with a basket to push the lead to 40-27, then Gordon made a another 3 and a dunk with 4:13 left to push the lead to 45-29 and cap off a 12-4 run.
Iverson Ventura hit a 3 from the right corner to pull Piqua within 49-35, but Taborn, Gordon and Hudgins made a basket before the end of the quarter to extend the lead to 21 points. Jones and Hudgins opened the fourth with baskets to cap off an 11-0 run and put Sidney ahead 60-35.
Qurri Tucker led Piqua (6-14, 3-11) with 15 points, 11 of which came in the first half. Willoughby credited Hudgins for shutting down Tucker in the second half.
“Josiah did a better job by keeping (Tucker) in front and not letting him penetrate as much,” Willoughby said. “That really let us take control, because they had a lot more problems scoring.”
The teams traded points early but Sidney took the lead in the middle of the first. Keith Lee and Roberts made back-to-back baskets to put the Yellow Jackets ahead 14-10 with 3:46 left. Zack Lavey made a long jumper to bring the Indians within 16-14 with 1:29 left, but Gordon finished the finished the quarter with a steal and 360-degree dunk to increase the lead to four points.
Roberts made a basket with 4:40 left in the second and followed 25 seconds later with a free throw to push the advantage to 29-18, but Piqua scored seven of the next nine points. Lee made a pair of free throws to put Sidney up 33-25 at halftime.
“The first half, what I think kept them in the game was their offensive rebounding,” Willoughby said. “That helped limit their (3-point) looks, too, because they were kicking it back out. We played good on defense but we weren’t finishing out the defensive series because we weren’t rebounding the first half. The second half, we were much better at it.”
Gordon was called for a technical foul for taunting after making his second shot of the game. He picked up a second foul late in the first half but went the rest of the way without fouling.
“They talked to me a little bit and I got out of hand there for probably the first time since my freshman year,” Gordon said. “It was just an eye-opener for them.”
Reach Bryant Billing at 937-538-4818, or follow @SidneyOHSports on Twitter and @BryantBillingSDN on Facebook.