CENTERVILLE — After advancing to district semifinals (formerly known as sectional finals) each of the last two years, Sidney will try aim to get a step further and qualify for a district final this season.
For the first time in the last three years, the Yellow Jackets are the highest seed in their bracket. Sidney coach John Willoughby said the designation won’t make anything easier.
Sidney (17-3) was voted the No. 3 seed in the 21-team Dayton Division I sectional and will open tournament play with No. 10 Kettering Fairmont (8-11) on Feb. 22 at Centerville High School.
“We saw them the first game of the year at Trent Arena against Fairborn,” Willoughby said of the Firebirds. “It’s a whole new group there and some young players. That’s about all we know right now.”
The Yellow Jackets were the sectional’s eighth seed two years ago and No. 4 seed last year and lost by small margins to No. 2 seed Springfield in district semifinals each year.
Sidney is made mainly of first-year varsity players, though. The squad has one starter back from last season’s squad, which set a program record with 20 wins.
Willoughby is hopeful the squad will be fine playing in pressure situations in tournament time after playing 18 conference games in its first season of in the Miami Valley League.
“I think that has to help, the schedule we played and the number of league games we’ve had to be focused in on, most times twice a week,” Willoughby said.
The sectional’s seeding meeting occurred Sunday at Centerville High School.
Seed voting began online early last week and concluded on Saturday. Results were tallied in preparation for Sunday’s meetings, during which teams placed themselves on their sectional’s brackets in seed order.
Sidney was voted the third seed in the sectional despite having the best record. Greater Western Ohio Conference powers Centerville (10-10) and Beavercreek (13-7) were voted the top two seeds, respectively.
“The whole sectional’s tough,” Willoughby said. “Centerville is probably above everybody even with their record, but even they are going to have some tough games (in their bracket). It’s wide open for everybody. Coaching-wise, that makes it a headache. But it’ll be a pretty exciting sectional.”
After Centerville and Beavercreek picked first, Sidney went into the last of the sectional’s three brackets. The Yellow Jackets went into the bottom part of the bracket, and No. 4 Miamisburg (14-6) went into the top half.
The Firebirds opted to face the Yellow Jackets in a first-round game of Miamisburg, who will host Fairmont in a regular-season finale on Friday.
The Firebirds have qualified for district finals each of the last two years but have a mainly new cast this season. The program also has a new coach in Kenny Molz, a Fairmont graduate. He replaced Blair Albright, who resigned last spring.
It’s the first season for the revived MVL, which originally existed for 49 years before disbanding in 1975. Sidney and nine other GWOC teams left that league to reform the MVL.
“I think our record and the way we played all year was appreciated by the coaches,” Willoughby said. “I appreciate that from them. Looking over everybody and how everybody from the different leagues voted, they kind of voted how they thought they should, and not by prioritizing their league affiliation, so I appreciate that.”
If Sidney wins, it will take on either No. 8 Franklin (18-3) or No. 9 Stebbins (16-4) in a second-round game on Feb. 27 in Centerville. If the squad wins its second postseason game, it will face either Miamisburg, No. 11 Belmont or No. 12 Springboro in a district semifinal on Feb. 29 at Trotwood-Madison.
The bracket’s winner will likely face Cincinnati Moeller, the top-ranked Div. I team in the state Associated Press poll, on March 8 at Xavier University’s Cintas Center.
Anna No. 1, Versailles No. 2 in Dayton D-III sectional
Anna’s victory over Versailles last month helped the squad earn the No. 1 seed in the Dayton D-III sectional. The Tigers were voted No. 2.
Anna will start tournament play on Feb. 20 against No. 23 Triad (2-17), would face No. 24 New Lebanon Dixie in a second-round game on Feb. 27 and either No. 13 Dayton Meadowdale or No. 19 Benjamin Logan on Feb. 29 in a district semifinal.
Versailles (19-1) got a first-round bye and will face No. 21 Carlisle (7-14) in a second-round game on Feb. 22 and would face No. 12 Greenon or No. 14 Indian Lake in a district semifinal on Feb. 29.
All of Anna’s and Versailles’ sectional and district games will be played at Vandalia-Butler’s Student Activities Center.
Houston (3-17) was voted the No. 22 seed and will face No. 3 Middletown Madison (18-2) in a first-round game on Feb. 21. All of the Wildcats’ sectional and district games will be played at Northmont’s Thunderdome.
Jackson Center No. 1, Botkins No. 2 in Piqua D-IV sectional
Jackson Center (15-5) was voted the No. 1 seed in the Piqua D-IV sectional and Botkins (16-4) was voted No. 2.
The Tigers went into the sectional’s bottom bracket and will face No. 13 Bradford (2-17) in a first-round game on Dec. 22. Russia (6-13) was voted the No. 9 seed and will face the Jackson Center/Bradford winner in a second-round game on Feb. 27. The second-round winner will advance to a district semifinal on Feb. 29.
Fairlawn (12-7) was voted the No. 4 seed and also went into the sectional’s bottom bracket. The Jets will open with No. 10 Covington (8-13) on Feb. 22 and would face either No. 5 Troy Christian or No. 8 Ansonia on Feb. 27. That winner will advance to face the Jackson Center, Russia or Bradford winner on Feb. 29.
Botkins will face No. 12 Newton (6-14) in a first-round game on Feb. 21. Riverside (6-14) was voted No. 11 and will face the winner in a second-round game on Feb. 25. The second-round winner will advance to a district semifinal on Feb. 28.
Fort Loramie (13-6) was voted the No. 3 seed. Lehman Catholic (11-8) was voted the No. 6 seed and will face No. 7 Mississinawa Valley (11-10) on Feb. 21. That winner will face the Redskins on Feb. 25, and the second-round winner will face either Botkins, Riverside on Newton on Feb. 28.
All games will be played at Piqua’s Garbry Gymnasium.
Minster No. 3, New Bremen No. 8 in Wapakoneta D-IV district
Minster (12-7) was voted the No. 3 seed and New Bremen (9-10) was voted No. 8 in the Wapakoneta D-IV district.
The Wildcats will open tournament play on Feb. 28 against either No. 4 Lima Perry or No. 12 Waynesfield-Goshen. The Cardinals will open tournament play on Feb. 26 against No. 6 Ridgemont.
Reach Bryant Billing at 937-538-4818, or follow @SidneyOHSports on Twitter and @BryantBillingSDN on Facebook.