Jackets battle Elks in sectional


Meet Friday night at Vandalia; winner to district

By Ken Barhorst - kbarhorst@aimmedianetwork.com



Sidney post man Lorenzo Taborn goes up for a shot Tuesday night againsat Xenia in the sectional semifinals at Vandalia.

Sidney post man Lorenzo Taborn goes up for a shot Tuesday night againsat Xenia in the sectional semifinals at Vandalia.


When the tournament draw was unveiled, the Sidney Yellow Jackets were facing a formidable task.

They had to open against a team that was 19-3 on the year, then face a team they lost to during the regular season.

But on Friday night, the Jackets will be playing for a Division 1 Sectional championship for the first time since 1999 when they take on Centerville at 7 p.m. at Vandalia-Butler High School.

The Jackets take a 17-7 record into the game against the 14-9 Elks. That’s the most wins in boys basketball since 1999-00 (17-4), and Sidney will be trying to win three tournament games for the firstd time since 1988.

Sidney’s last two wins are among their most impressive of the season. The first tourney win came over a strong Tecumseh team, and the Jackets scored 94 points in a 21-point verdict. Then on Tuesday night, they trailed by as many as 11 in the first half only to come back and beat Xenia 70-65 to keep their tournament run alive.

“We never feel like we’re out of a game,” said Sidney coach Andy Slaughter of the 11-point first-half deficit. “Even going back to last year, our kids have done a great job of fighting back. But we had a lot of work to do at the half, and had some adjustments to make. And we felt like we did that, and the kids did a good job of accepting the changes that we had to make.”

He said the adjustments were at both ends of the flor.

“Defensively, we talked to the kids about keeping Xenia’s playmakers out of the lane, cutting off the drive and not alowing them to get to the basket,” Slaughter said. “And we wanted to get a hand up on the shooters. Not late, but on the way out to them. And those things were huge.”

Indeed they were — the Jackets held a high-powered Xenia team to just eight field goals in the second half, and only one in a decisive third quarter that saw Sidney outscore the Buccs 21-11.

“Offensively, we talked about finishing on offense and making an effort to get to the basket,” said the coach. “And we needed to find the open man. We felt we forced the issue a little too much in the first half and those weren’t our normal shots.”

Freshman Andre Gordon continued to impress. He put the Jackets on his shoulders in the second half, scoring 18 of his team-high 20 points, including 14 in the final period.

But he had a lot of help. Lorenzo Taborn was a spark to start the third quarter and finished with 16, senior guard Cameron Gallimore had 12 points, and the Jackets were able to hit some big free throws down the stretch.

Slaughter said Friday’s game will come down to who can execute and dictate the tempo. While the Jackets like to use their athleticism and play at a fast pace, the Elks are content to take 30 seconds or more before putting up a shot.

“They definitely play at a different tempo than we do,” said Slaughter of the Elks. “And that will be a major battle Friday night. We played Lakota East in the holiday tournament in Columbus (50-49 loss), and they play very much like Centerville does. They will run 30 or 40 seconds off the clock in order to get a good shot.”

Sidney averages just 64.6 points per game this season and Centerville is at 56.9. The Elks are giving up six points less.

The Elks are led in scoring by Keegan Saben, a 6-foot-3 junior who is at 17.8 points per game. He’s the only one in double figures, but three others are at 8.5 or better. Sam Lash is a 6-4 junior averaging 9.3, Daniel Buchenroth is a 6-4 senior at 8.8, and Kyle Fedewa is a 6-5 senior at 8.5.

They’re not as big as the Centerville teams of the past,” said Slaughter. “They won’t throw a 6-9 or 6-10 player at you, but they have real good height overall.”

Gallimore leads the Jackets in scoring at 14.5, with Gordon at 13.5 and Taborn 11.

Sidney post man Lorenzo Taborn goes up for a shot Tuesday night againsat Xenia in the sectional semifinals at Vandalia.
http://aimmedianetwork.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/47/2016/02/web1_SDN022516SidBbball.jpgSidney post man Lorenzo Taborn goes up for a shot Tuesday night againsat Xenia in the sectional semifinals at Vandalia.
Meet Friday night at Vandalia; winner to district

By Ken Barhorst

kbarhorst@aimmedianetwork.com

Reach Ken Barhorst at 937-538-4818

Reach Ken Barhorst at 937-538-4818