Boys basketball: Sidney fights off Tecumseh rally, stays unbeaten

By Robert Billing - For the Sidney Daily News

Jaden Swiger

Jaden Swiger

NEW CARLISLE — Sidney nearly lost a 10-point lead but hit key late foul shots and held on to earn a 72-68 nonconference victory over Tecumseh at Reynolds Gymnasium on Saturday afternoon to stay undefeated.

Sidney improved to 8-0 overall. It’s the first time since 1978 the Yellow Jackets have started 8-0.

The Yellow Jackets needed a boost from their bench players to win a wild game that saw 40 fouls called. Sophomore forward Jaden Swiger was put in the game in the first quarter and led the team with 16 points after making all eight of his field goal attempts.

Sophomore guard Devin Taborn scored 10 points off the bench and junior guard Camden Vordemark scored 10 points and shot 4 for 4 from the field.

“They actually saved us,” Sidney coach John Willoughby said of the team’s bench players. “We were down 7-0 quick and the starters were not ready to play. We got the lead, but that set the tone (for the game).”

Sidney used a 13-0 run in the first quarter to take the lead and increased the advantage to nine points by halftime. Trey Werntz hit a long 3 and Swiger made a basket early in the third quarter to help boost Sidney’s lead to 58-46.

But when it looked like the Yellow Jackets may pull away and earn a big win like their 32-point win over Tecumseh’s Central Buckeye Conference rival Bellefontaine on Friday, the Arrows battled back.

Sidney led 60-50 heading into the fourth quarter but had several turnovers that Tecumseh capitalized on. Collin O’Conner hit two free throws and made a basket and Easton Lewis made a free throw to pull Tecumseh within 66-59.

The Arrows’ run continued. O’Conner made a layup after a steal, and a Tecumseh player intercepted a pass on Sidney’s next possession and threw it to O’Conner, who hit a 3 to cut the lead to 67-66.

Dominick Durr drove to the basket and appeared to draw a foul but was called for a charge late in the fourth quarter. He was injured on the play and didn’t return.

After the teams traded free throws, Taborn made two foul shots to put Sidney ahead 70-67. Avante Martin then made a pair of foul shots with 49 seconds left to increase the lead to 72-67.

Brendan Toops was fouled shooting a 3 on Tecumseh’s next possession but made just one free throw, and Sidney held on from there.

“We must do better at finishing these kind of games and keeping the lead,” Willoughby said. “We had poor ball handling and our free throw shooting was below par tonight. I am glad to get these two games out of the way (Bellefontaine and Tecumseh).”

Sidney will play five straight Miami Valley League opponents before playing another nonconference game. The Yellow Jackets, which are 6-0 in MVL play, will host upstart West Carrollton (5-2, 5-1 MVL) on Friday.

Durr finished with 13 points for Sidney. Lewis finished with 26 points for Tecumseh and O’Conner, a freshman guard, scored 15.

Tecumseh, which dropped to 1-7 on Friday after a 33-point loss to Beavercreek, hit just about all its shots early and jumped out to a 15-6 lead in the first quarter thanks in part to hitting three 3-pointers. Swiger made a basket in the paint and Vordemark hit two jumpers to start what finished as a 13-0 run for Sidney.

The Yellow Jackets led 21-16 at the end of the first and Taborn hit a 3 soon after the quarter started.

Swiger, who also had six rebounds, made two baskets to push Sidney’s lead to 32-24. Darren Taborn hit a 3 after a nice pass from Durr right before the end of the quarter to extend the lead to 40-31.

Jaden Swiger Swiger

By Robert Billing

For the Sidney Daily News