WEST CARROLLTON — Sidney’s bid to win the overall Miami Valley League will have to wait until next week.
The Yellow Jackets pulled as close as two points in the second half, but West Carrollton scored the last 10 points in the final 90 seconds to pull away and win an MVL showdown 82-67 on Friday.
“We had to shoot the ball late and had to take some shots we normally don’t,” Sidney coach John Willoughby said. “That made for some long rebounds and breakouts. You take bad shots, that’s what happens.”
Sidney (17-3, 14-2) could have secured the overall league title and the MVL Valley Division title with a win on Friday. The Yellow Jackets retain a one-game lead over the Pirates (13-5, 13-3) with two league games left. They will host Tippecanoe (which they lost to in early January) on Tuesday and Greenville on Friday.
“That’d be beautiful if we could (bounce back Tuesday),” Willoughby said. “Tipp’s tough, and we had a hard time defending them.
“I don’t know what it is. Mentally, our preparation tonight, I don’t know. It’s hard to put my finger on it.”
The Yellow Jackets won the teams’ first MVL matchup 64-49 on Jan. 3 in Sidney. Sidney held MVL leading scorer Kalen McKinney to four points in that matchup and held him to five points in the first half on Friday.
McKinney, a 6-foot-3 senior forward, exploded in the second half, though. He scored the first five points in the third quarter and finished with a game-high 26.
“He’s a tough player, but I’m just disappointed by how we guarded him and our defense,” Willoughby said. “We backed down a little bit late.
“We weren’t ready to play, and that’s my fault. I don’t know why they wouldn’t be ready to play this game, and that’s what’s disappointing.”
Stanley Shrivers scored 17 points for the Pirates while Jaye’ton Howard scored 15.
Trey Werntz led the Yellow Jackets with 13 points while Darren Taborn scored 10 and Lathan Jones and Devin Taborn each scored nine.
The Pirates led 37-32 at halftime and scored five points in the first 35 seconds of the third to take a 10-point lead.
Sidney quickly got back into it by scoring the next nine points, six of which came at the free-throw line. Werntz hit a 3 during the run and made a pair of free throws after a West Carrollton player was called for a technical foul.
Lathan Jones hit a 3 from the left corner with 5:23 left to tie it 44-44 and hit a shot under the basket with 3:29 left to tie it 48-48, but West Carrollton responded each time with big runs. After Jones tied it for a second time, consecutive 3-pointers put the Pirates ahead 54-48 with 2:17 left. The teams traded baskets to a 56-51 score heading into the fourth.
The teams traded baskets to a 65-60 score midway through the fourth. Darren Taborn hit a 3 from the right wing with 3:54 left to bring Sidney within 65-63, but West Carrollton quickly pulled away.
McKinney hit a 3 from the right corner to increase the lead to 70-64 with 2:21 left, then Sam Walker made a basket with 1:49 left to push the lead to 72-64.
After a three-point play by Avante Martin with 1:30 left cut the gap to 72-67, the Pirates ran away. Sidney missed its last four shots, and West Carrollton quickly drove down and scored each time.
The Yellow Jackets controlled the first three minutes as West Carrollton struggled to hit shots. Werntz hit two foul shots after Shrivers picked up a technical foul to give Sidney a 7-2 lead with about five minutes left.
The Pirates quickly scored three straight baskets to take a 9-7 lead and led 17-14 at the end of the first.
Sidney tied it twice in the second, the second of which came when Cedric Johnson made a layup and Darren Taborn made a layup after a steal to tie it 32-32 with about a minute left.
Howard made a 3 from the top of the key and Austin Jones made a jumper with about six seconds left to give the Pirates a 37-32 halftime lead.
Sidney will now wait to find out its tournament seed in the Dayton Division I sectional. Online voting has been open for coaches this week and will close on Saturday, and all teams in Ohio will find out their fate in seeding meetings on Sunday.
The Yellow Jackets far and away have the best record 21-team Dayton-area sectional but may not earn the top seed — or the top couple of seeds.
Though GWOC teams like Centerville (10-9 entering Friday) and Beavercreek (12-7) have significantly more losses, they’ve mostly come to the likes of out-of-state and Ohio D-I powers like defending state champion Cincinnati Moeller or Pickerington North, in addition to GWOC member Trotwood-Madison (17-2), which looks primed to defend its D-II state title.
Reach Bryant Billing at 937-538-4818, or follow @SidneyOHSports on Twitter and @BryantBillingSDN on Facebook.